The End of Jobs

The End of Jobs: Money, Meaning and Freedom Without the 9-to-5 by Taylor Pearson

This is the era we’re headed into…where everything is outsourced, where income has gone down versus inflation for the past 40 years, and there are fewer and fewer choices for highly educated people with high student loan debts to get good jobs.

The reality is that in the 20th century we had a glut of too many overpaid jobs that weren’t creating enough economic value, and that all changed in 2008, with the recent emphasis on productivity and efficiency. The market rewards value, whether such value is through creating apps, STEM, physics, stock trading, real estate, ‘gigs‘, or payment processing. Value is not created by sitting on your butt for eight hours a day doing the minimum required to not get fired. People are getting an income with these overpaid jobs, but are not creating value – a notable example being government bureaucracies. That’s why Scott Walker is a hero for taking on the Wisconsin unions:

The 2011 Wisconsin Act 10, also known as the Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill,[1] was legislation proposed by Republican Governor Scott Walker[2] and passed by the Wisconsin Legislature to address a projected $3.6 billion budget deficit.[3] The legislation primarily impacted the following areas: collective bargaining, compensation, retirement, health insurance, and sick leave of public sector employees. In response, unions and other groups organized protests inside and around the state capitol. The bill was passed into law and became effective as of June 29, 2011. Public employees exempted from the changes to the collective bargaining law include firefighters and most law enforcement workers.[1] The bill was ruled to be constitutional by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in July 2014, after three years of litigation.

It was a success. Public employee union membership dropped significantly after the law passed, with AFSCME reporting a drop from 62,818 in 2011 to 28,745 in February 2012. In many cases, the union members were removed by the union after they declined to have dues collected by the union.

In the private sector, office politics are becoming a thing of the past as ‘social skills’, which were once required to get ahead, are becoming less important. Especially since 2008 and 2013, competence is more important than ever, not how good you can ‘kiss ass’. That’s why STEM is taking over the world and is so respected, because the people who get ahead in STEM do so through IQ, skill, talent, and individuality, not office politics, nepotism and other environmental factors. Being the smartest person is the room is cool again. Those overpaid low-IQ jobs are going away, being replaced by software or outsourcing. But at the same time, the low-IQ service sector is thriving. Individuals who are too comfortable doing low-IQ work for high-pay, relying on office politics and connections to get ahead, are in for a rude awakening by the productivity reaper. Going from $150k a year, with golf on the weekends and all-expenses paid business travel, to $20k a year at Starbucks is not all that uncommon.

The knowledge economy has taken over the industrial economy, carving out an elite group called the ‘creative class’. But now even ‘knowledge’ can be outsourced, with software, design and translation as two examples. However, innovation cannot be outsourced. People are getting rich through complex creative work that is not so clearly defined and cannot be outsourced. Today’s tech royalty of millionaires and billionaires didn’t just learn a set of instructions well – they created entire industries. You can make a sold 6-figure salary being a competent coder, but the leap to profound wealth comes from either being at the right place at the right time (being hired as a coder at the next Uber or Facebook for example), or creating the entire company from scratch.

However, the problem is the schools are only teaching young people the skills that would have been ‘good enough’ a generation or so ago, but in our hyper-competitive post-2008 economy of ‘average is over‘, it’s not good enough. Being literate isn’t good enough. Knowing Algebra isn’t good enough. The only options are to specialize or to turn back the hands of time, the later which is impossible. This means teaching kids from an early age the skills that create economic value, whether it’s value through preparing coffee at Starbucks or working as a nurse in the healthcare sector. Higher-IQ kids should be encouraged to learn good-paying STEM skills like coding, advanced math, and apps.