Unemployment sucks. Though I am not unemployed (knock wood), I have been thinking recently about the effects that the employment crisis is going to have. You can blame the global banking crisis if you want but the fact is that North America was getting fat and the time has come for us to pay the price. Companies are clear-cutting their workforces. It may be cold comfort to those currently unemployed but here are three optimistic points to focus on:
…massive amounts of talented people out onto the streets.
Companies are cutting jobs so fast they are not letting go based on ‘knowledge’ or ‘ability’. They are sending massive amounts of talented people out onto the streets. The good thing about talented people is that most of them have ‘a big idea‘; one of those plans to change the world or build a better mousetrap. Before this crisis these ideas were trapped in corporate complacency but now tens of thousand of great ideas can be released by the truly optimistic and entrepreneurial. The next Larry Page and Sergey Brin (of Google) are currently standing in an unemployment line and thinking how they can ensure this is never going to happen again to them. Believe it.
…unemp-trepreneurs need money for extravagant things like food and shelter.
That leads to the next upside: hunger. If you are running a company who’s business model is “we’ll figure the business model out later” GOOD LUCK. There are alot of touchy-feely companies out there that are about to get some investor smackdowns if they don’t figure out how to monetize in ridiculously swift fashion. They will be standing next to the unwashed masses, their unserviced iPhones and empty fair trade latte cups in hand. The new group of unemp-trepreneurs need money for extravagant things like food and shelter. You can bet every good idea that comes out of this crisis has a business model attached that doesn’t pay off in 10 years, it pays off this month. Investors in shaky markets like these people…alot.
Take that hippie!
Finally, we have the technology, we can rebuild him. Social Networking, collaboration, open source, GNU: before this crisis they were embraced by the granola tree hugging population of the world as a ‘buy the world a Coke‘ style love-in for how super great humanity is. Well they can self love all they want, but they are about to see these tools turned into one of the most unexpectedly efficient ways for business to opperate. I bet that given a laptop and wireless I can get a factory in Taiwan manufacturing my super widget in less than two months and can find enough micro-investors to do it and have online sales before it even arrives stateside. Take that hippie!
I hope I haven’t offended anyone or oversimplified the crisis. I am truly sensitive to those who are out of work, having gone through the tech bust in 2000 and become a surprisingly terrible and depressed manual labourer for a few years. I honestly believe what I write above and likely in 6 years I will be having a Nerf gun fight in the halls of your corporate headquarters while you hunt pandas for sport on a remote Chinese island, because you earned it.