Work, employment and risk: aren’t we all self-employed already?

December 21, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

A 2012 blog, How to Find a Legit Work-From-Home Job, suggested “[t]o find legitimate, quality at-home assignments, follow…five tips….  This got me thinking: is there a “tip 0.5”, one that comes before the 5.  I think so.  What do you think?

[0.5 – Think-of-yourself-as-self-employed–TOYASE!–because we ALL really are.  Most of us who have only one full-time job risk more than others because we have only one customer–our employer (and yes, our internal customers there with that employer)–while others risk differently by having more than one customer but maybe a more unpredictable income stream.

Which risk can you best tolerate?  Peter Bernstein (1996 best seller, “Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk”) writing about risk stated that “…where significant sums [of $$$] are involved, most people will reject a fair gamble [i.e. being an entrepreneur] in favor of a certain gain [i.e. a steady paycheck]….”, and “…when the choice involves losses, we are risk-seekers, not risk-adverse.”  Further, Berstein referring to a Kahneman and Tversy study that suggests “…people are not risk-adverse…they are perfectly willing to choose a gamble when they consider it appropriate [i.e. fair, manageable].”

Bernstein goes on,  “The major force is loss-aversion.  …It’s not so much that people hate uncertainty—but rather they hate losing. Loses [such as ‘job loss’ or ‘income loss] will always loom larger than gains.  Indeed, losses that go unresolved…are likely to provoke intense, irrational, and abiding risk-aversion.”  [pp. 272-274.]

Herein lies a major problem for many people who’ve been downsized and not found some means of resolving their sense of loss.  The question is how to resolve the sense of loss that makes people risk-adverse, and thus unable to move on, let alone consider being an entrepreneur, self-employed.

I’d suggest we are all self-employed and should think of ourselves as “working from home”.  Don’t we already “work from home”, even when we “commute” physically to accommodate the employer’s preference to have us congregate with others to complete tasks, duties and responsibilities?  With the Internet, cloud computing and collaboration, and the coming of “3D/printer manufacturing”, we may need to get over the idea of “going to work” as a location and adopt the mindset that work (i.e. “purposeful activity”) we do everywhere, and that maybe, just maybe, getting paid for work is more a matter of “finding something we do well which we can sell” [i.e. creating a job and an income], and selling that product/service to someone willing to pay for it.  Isn’t this capitalistic, free enterprise at its heart?

Back to Collamer’s blog.  Here are Nancy’s 5 tips from her ‘legit’ work-from-home job blog entry, and my comments in brackets:

1. Focus on telecommuting-friendly jobs [Okay, but what does such a job “look” like and does “friendly” in this case imply it can “easily be replaced by technology”, or “cheaper laborers”?].

2. Sell yourself locally. [Okay, I get the “act local, think global” manta.  But her suggestion gives me caution: “medical billing home based business”. This is the equivalent of a high volume production position, gauged and monitored, I suspect, by number-of-keystrokes-per-hour.  And the number of keystrokes required for keeping the job will be HIGH and pushed to be higher, and higher, and higher—until a technology comes along to replace the keystroker! Can you spell, “carpal-tunnel”, and “absolute focus, undisturbed workspace”?]

3. Network like crazy. [Well, yes, of course! But maybe not “like crazy”, rather “like sanity”.  Many, many more jobs are found, or very significantly helped find, by having a good network.  And we need to have that network in place before we need to tap it.]

4. Contact large companies around the country directly. [Yes, your network, including online, may help here, but it’s going to take time and much patience.  And remember, the vast majority of people in the US economy work for small companies, not multi-nationals who will ‘out-source’ work at the drop of a hat to save a few bucks—so, enter at your own risk!]

5. Find listings online.  [Oh, be careful here for scams (If it seems to easy or to-good-to-be-true, it probably is) and the positions already filled but not taken down!]

[To read the full article, go to this link, Nancy Collamer’s July 19, 2012 article at Next Avenue.]

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