We didn’t have jobs so ….

“We didn’t have jobs so we solved that problem by starting our own business”

We just got back from Disney World and I heard this quote while I was there. It was cold and wet and during one of our days there we were at Hollywood Studios looking for shelter. We ducked into “One Man’s Dream” and started checking out all the display items. It’s a bit like a museum of Walt’s life that leads to a short film of his history.

In 1923, Walt’s brother Roy was in California and Walt went to join him. The quote “We didn’t have jobs so we solved that problem by starting our own business” just captured my attention in the story. I suspect we will see that solution happen more often as our economy moves from the industrial age to the information age we are seeing take over.

Jobs are going. They are moving to cheaper places or are being replaced by technology. I have worked a lot of my life bringing that technology and I can see how it will continue. Before I moved to real estate I worked in the automotive industry and the goal was to produce more, make it cheaper and increase quality.

The automation I worked on started out pretty simple in 1978 and over the 25 years I worked doing all this it got more complex and required programmers (jobs that did not exist before) and techs to maintain the new equipment. Lots of people got retrained to new jobs and life went on but nothing was going to stay the same.

I think we have to go back to some old ideas to see the future. Jobs are a pretty new idea. About 150 years ago there were no jobs but unemployment was zero. We had craftsmen, apprentices, laborers and most were self employed or they worked in agriculture to feed themselves and others.The idea of going to a place to build something as a job came with the industrial revolution. I had a job from the time I was about 15 until I made the transition in 1995 to a more self directed course in a company I was part owner and finally moved to fully self employed on August 31, 2001.

It’s clear to me, those first days on my own.  I remember clearly feeling fear. How was I going to pay the bills, keep a roof over my head and feed all of us? Confusion came as I tried to figure out who I worked for (although Susan said then and still says ‘you work for me!’).

It was a big transition. Over time I got comfortable with more questions than answers and focused on what I knew. I had work to do and It was a day at a time for a while but now I can’t see myself ever working for anyone else again. It did not happen overnight but it happened.

I suspect more people will see their jobs change or disappear and they will have to answer some of those same questions. Do you want to count on the government to take care of you through unemployment pay or do you want to have more control over your life. Are you waiting for someone to pick you out of a stack of resume’s or do you want to pick yourself? Are you going to sit on the couch and wait or are you going to start reading, volunteering and looking for something better. Get out and do something just because it needs to be done. Meet people and ask questions. It is where opportunity will find you, not on your couch watching I Love Lucy reruns.

I was in a meeting today with some pretty successful people in my business. We opened with a list of 20 things rich people do that poor people don’t do. It got me to thinking about the choices I made over 10 years ago and the choices I make today. I am in charge of me, of my choices. I am not in control of all the results but it is still up to me to do something and not wait around for someone to pick me.

If you find you don’t have a job and that is the problem you want to solve, maybe you need to start a business. I would be honored to have a coffee with you (I’ll buy) and we can talk about what you want to do. I probably won’t have more answers than you have questions but I can listen and sometimes that is all you need.

Thanks for listening,
Jerry Robertson