Whether or not you think you are, you’re in business.
By this I mean that you’re the primary one responsible for making the decisions which will meet your goals both short term and long term. You’re the one who has to figure out when and where to rely on other people and where to allocate your scarce resources of time, money, and attention.
Why is this useful?
Too many people fall into the trap of giving away decision-making to their employer. The typical way of looking at a job is that your boss tells you what to do, and if you comply, you’ll continue to get paid. The recession has shown us how tenuous an assumption this is.
It’s far better to look at employment as a trade of value:
|You want:||Your employer wants:|
When a situation is created where all of these can be satisfied, it’s wonderful. Unfortunately, when you put severe stress on the system – global economic crisis, for instance – this breaks down. In that case, the companies have more power, so they start optimizing their own returns at the expense of employees’ satisfaction.
If you’re a one-person service business, you don’t just take it. You work hard on looking for other opportunities, to upgrade your services, or even reboot the business entirely if necessary.
If you have a job, you’re a one person service business. You are selling your valuable time to a customer for an agreed amount called a wage or salary, with expectations of the future but no assurance.
When you think of it that way, it’s also your responsibility to define where your “business” is going to go in the future. Nobody is going to pay you to do that, so stop expecting it.
It’s said that today’s graduates will have at least seven careers during their lifetime, which is one reason why they’re not as “loyal” to their present jobs as past generations might have been.
What are you doing to pick and design your next career? Even if you’re sixty years old, it’s your responsibility.