The Servant Economy, Avoid or Enter?

Dan Froomkin wrote a piece recently about the steady decline of wages in America. Read it here. He argues that neither political party has a specific plan for the long-term creation of meaningful, high-wage jobs. Froomkin quotes Jeff Faux, a progressive economist who founded the Economic Policy Institute, throughout the article. Faux’s research suggests that by the mid-2020s, current trends indicate that the average American’s wages will drop roughly 20 percent. He provides further evidence that more and more quality jobs will go to other countries, leaving very bright Americans to enter the service industry and work for much less than they are worth.

“You go into an Apple store and you see the future,” Faux. “The future’s not in the technology – the future of the American labor force is all in those smart college-educated people with the T-shirts whose job is to be a retail clerk for Chinese goods.”

Because the American government, and other governing elite, have ruled out positive government investment in education, infrastructure, green energy, regulation of the financial industry and promotion of domestic manufacturing, the American populace can look forward to political infighting and a government starved for revenue over the next 10 to 15 years.

For someone in career transition or professional who is under-utilized, what can you do to find meaning and your dream career faster?

1. Find Eudaimonia – strive for an existence not just rich materially or financial, but for a life full of meaningful relationships, ideas, emotions, good health, recognition for accomplishments, contribution to causes bigger than yourself, fulfillment of your desires and rich in striving to reach your potential.

2. Contribute to the “Common” Wealth – real human welfare isn’t solely driven by the accumulation of financial resources, you can generate value for your stakeholders by creating intellectual, human, social, emotional, organizational, ethical and creative capital that benefits their existence.

3. Don’t Settle – in order to manifest your goals, dreams and visions into a meaningful life, you must not simply make incremental change, you must make quantum leaps. Get a master’s degree, move to and work in another country, start a new business – anything that will challenge and help you grow.

4. Strive for More – a meaningful existence occurs when you strive for better, not just busier. You can create meaning for yourself and others by helping others become fitter, smarter, closer, wiser, tougher, humbler, truer and wealthier.

5. Generate – the beginning of the 21st century has emulated others in the past where corporations have held immense power and are driving down the cost of all upstream inputs. If you want to avoid becoming a cog in the wheel, you must stand out by making your competitive advantage generative. What are you doing to add value to all outcomes for your end users?

Because there are many forces working against you, namely high unemployment, flattening organizations, globalization, a fractured government and intense competition, you must separate yourself from others by fearing mediocrity and becoming indispensable.

Remember, your biggest threat today isn’t external, its internal – you have to live up to your potential and add to the “common” wealth.