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Modern Day Slavery

Before I start let me say there are 2 ways to take this topic on. I am passionate about this topic (it's who I am and why I do what I do)... and inherently that makes me less objective... which I will admit to start with.  However, that doesn't make me less knowledgeable.

1- Jobs are the band-aids of modern day slavery.
2- We all have free-agency.

A very complex topic and I'm interested in your thoughts. Start off by reading these 2 articles...

-> Job Security? You've got to be kidding!

-> (Netrepreneur 101) Find that Something!

I will start with my thoughts half way through the second article.

"From that first trade people have tried to develop ways of securing for themselves as much of the ‘Currency’ or ‘Commodities’ or ‘Property’ as possible."

The word Job is related to Jobbe from the 1550's. Here are a few links to review and read concerning the development and progress of the word JOB.

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=job&searchmode=phrase

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=job

http://www.seek.co.nz/editorial/0-3-10_zen_career.htm

In the last link/article many solid points are made. I have, as stated before, 2 tangents of this issue I want to address. They don't argue with one another and I'll try to be clear so you won’t perceive them as mutually exclusive.

The idea of working for someone else brings up a lot of thoughts.

Indulge a digression for point. In the recent movie "The Alamo" you see depicted 2 black men. One a slave of Jim Bowie. One a free man contracted to serve/work for William Travis, commander of the Alamo.

In the movie there are 3 relevant scenes to this issue:

First, a scene where the 2 men talk with each other. The older of the two, the slave, tells the younger free man that when the Spanish breach the walls to say something in Spanish about being a slave... and they wouldn't harm him, as slavery was outlawed in Mexico.

The younger man blows it off and says I'm a free man... not a slave. The older man looks at him as says, just because you are contracted to this man doesn't make you free.... the jist was, you're just as much a salve as I am.

Second, Jim Bowie calls "his" slave in to his room as tells him to leave the Alamo (the Spanish had given reprieve to all Spanish and slaves). The man looks at him and says, "I'm Free?" and Jim replies flippantly... "No, you'll be my property until you die."

Third, the younger free man curls up in a corner after the walls have been breached by the Spanish and repeats over and over something in Spanish to the effect, "I'm a slave."

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Slavery is a tough political topic to discuss. Additionally, while TRUE modern slavery exists and the trafficking of children, women, and minorities still exists in our world today... I am not demeaning their plight by using the analogy below.

I start my comments identifying the sensitive nature of this topic and ask that if you are sensitive to an analogy drawn between the JOB and the idea of Slavery... I would encourage you to discontinue reading.

To assert that I know what it's like to be a slave or to liken anything to slavery, to some, might be taken as belittling the plight of "TRUE" slaves and of slavery itself. This is not the case. I am extremely aware of these issues and concerned about the lack of FREEDOM on any plain. Including the vicious cycle and trap set by employers and society that make it extremely difficult for millions of people to truly be FREE.

Here we go:

In the late 1800's and early 1900's an interesting shift happened in the work force of the world, particularly industrializing nations. Small business owners, farmers, and tradesmen started being courted by large companies in mass, promising "steady wages" and a safe work environment.

This was heightened during the depression as small business owners and people from all over were unable to earn a living... and as war erupted and women MASSIVELY entered the work force a whole generation was indoctrinated to value and teach the idea of working for someone else. Of course for hundreds and perhaps thousands of years Craftsmen passed on their trade to apprentices who worked for their master craftsmen... However, the modern concept of a JOB was really not realized until the 30's and 40's.

Additionally, as the US started to prosper again, education started becoming more and more critical for the better paying jobs.

Advance to modern day, when we have concepts
like "Over Qualified" and "Down sizing" and "Out Sourcing".

Modern economics and concepts of business cause a disparity between stock holders value and the employees of the company. There was a time where the POWER your business had was based on the number of employees you had. Today, that's laughable! Stock prices soar when huge layoffs occur, making the company "MORE LEAN".

Balance sheets and bottom lines and numbers are associated with the employees value... when years ago an employee was valued as an asset... today employees are a number on a balance sheet in the "Liabilities" category... wages.

This fairly well describes where we find ourselves today as Generation X (now the 3rd generation since the 20's) is pushed into the work force.

In the 50's and 60's someone could work their whole life for the same company.
In the 70's and 80's it was likely that you could have 2-3 career shifts in your life.
In the 90's and 00's we're faced with the prospect of 5-10 major "Jobs" or career shifts for Generation Xers.

The fluid nature of the work force is quantified as an "Unemployment %" by the White House and economic gurus.

Analogy: When a Cattleman takes their herd to market they measure their profit 2 ways. 1 by the total head count, 2 by the total weight of the herd.

All these things add into how an employee is viewed and treated in today’s work force. I could go on and on from an employers perspective... the unemployment insurance, the workers comp, the insurance and benefits, the Social Security and Taxes... man it's insane... trust me.

But... this is about YOU or a loved one... about the employee themselves.

We have to almost blame ourselves.

I mean to say the employees... we push and push and push for more benefits and higher pay... then we squawk when 1/2 the work force is cut because a company's bottom line is too thin. But, I said ALMOST to blame.

The world we live in today is shifting slowly... more and more people are seeing the power and liberation of WAH (working-at-home). But, there is a long way to go.

Credit cards, homes, second homes, cars, second cars, extra's like boats, 4wheelers, personal water craft, condos, etc, etc...

These things cause a required personal cash flow level in order to "KEEP AFLOAT". More and more we find people living outside their means.

Recently Bush signed into law a Bankruptcy Reform Bill. Sadly enough this will just cause the problem to get worse. Rather than controlling how people can get credit and where they can get credit... we have kept the spending habits the same... and changed the only course of action some people have for debt relief. I am not a bankruptcy fan for those doing it with unjustified reasons... it's an easy way out for a lot of people. But, it's a band-aid not a solution.

Let's help people earn more, spend less, and reduce debt.

Minimum wage increases typically don't keep pace with inflation... so, more and more families drop below the poverty line (which admittedly in the US many living in poverty are living in better circumstances than elsewhere in the world... however, poverty in the US is a HUGE issue massively exacerbated by the unbalanced yin and yang of Jobs & Debt.)

This seemingly never ending cycle of Debt & Jobs is the MASS modern day slavery that everyone is subjected to. This is a typically non-discriminatory slavery... it really doesn't care your color of skin or sex.

It is a master without heart, without cause, that is completely out of control.

Do you have a choice to go to work or not? YES! You are free!
Do you have a choice to get into debt or not? YES! You are free!

But on the whole as a society we are a group of insatiable appetites... the same DREAMS and ASPIRATIONS that drive us to better ourselves, also intoxicate us with the FALSE feeling of power as we drive away in that NEW CAR or get that Boat... or buy that home. The FALSE feeling of "Success" is easily obtained by being able to eat out 3-5 times a month, see a movie any time we want, or buy the best brand cloths.

Do you realize that It really DOESN'T take 2 jobs to make it? That the cost of living, FOR MOST, compared to their income is still relatively acceptable (the disparity has grown but not enough to require 2 or 3 full time incomes).

Do you realize that "Keeping up with the Jones" has forced many people to live lives that are false with things that they don’t really need?

Most, can't even distinguish between a need and a want these days.

Do you have to go to work tomorrow?
What happens if you take the week off?
Do you feel trapped? Like a 9-5 jail cell?

Are you tired of giving 5 out of every 7 days... sometimes maybe 6 out of every 7 days in exchange for money you'll NEVER SEE? It goes in and is drained right back out before you know it?

How many of your bills are on Auto-Debit?
What is your Gross Check? What is your Net after all the bills?
Does it feel like you'll need to take on a second part time job "just to make it?"

How much is your cable bill? 50 years ago... TV access was free.

How many Cars do you have? 50 years ago... 1 was the average. Chances are you have 2 or 3.

How many pair of shoes do you have in your closet? 50 years ago... 2-3 was the average. Church, Work and Home.

The list of things we expect are "Normal" today is MASSIVELY exaggerated compared to 50 years ago.

A Job is the perceived solution to pay our masters for our freedom. Debt is the real slavery... and we walk right into it... eyes wide open... in some cases saying... GIVE ME MORE!

And then we go to work angry that we "HAVE TO WORK" (you really don't have to... it's a rational choice you made when you got out of bed... if you don't there are consequences... but, you really don't have to.)

We just barely do what it takes to get the job done so we can go home... we take no pride in what we accomplish each day... we are looked at as a liability by our employers... unappreciated for our contributions... and day in and day out we fume and stress... and take more pills to make us feel better.

And around and around we go. Slaves to our own appetites. Voluntary Slavery. There was no Draft into this... we walked into it arms wide open.

1- Jobs are the band-aids of modern day slavery.
2- We all have free-agency.

One can not honestly say as they drive to work, "I do not want to go to work." We as rational self-interested human beings only ever do what we want... based on a complex guide of weighed consequences. When evaluating each action each thing we do there is a whole list of pro's and con's that are listed in our brains. Then we go through a cost benefit analysis of each possible action and choose the one that "Makes us happiest".

Because we all strive to be happy... we will always choose the thing that makes us happiest. Always.

The consequences of not going to work are far more painful in our minds than the consequences of going to work... and so... we continue to go... willingly.

If we can be honest with ourselves... and if we can clear away the false perceptions surrounding this issue... then and only then can we empower ourselves with the ideas we need to properly seek out opportunities for LIBERATION!

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On a side note. As a WAH guy my extended family often times wonders how it is any better to WAH than to have a JOB. And I can see their points too. I don't get paid for every hour I work... I get paid in spurts and bursts... there's always an under lying constant income... but, some months it explodes and others it falls off... that's just the simple ebb and flow and natural progression of business... not every month is a growth month.

As one starts out with WAH opportunities and businesses one may start, it often times comes to a point where you'll have to leave that JOB, to make the business grow, before you've reached the income you need to Replace that JOB. Some times it takes a leap of faith in yourself and your business... but, if you've planned well when the time comes you'll make the transition. When you do... DON'T LOOK BACK! It's so easy during difficult times or slow times to want to get back into the trap again.

I've worked with hundreds of people who are making this transition... and I can tell you it's hardly ever easy. But, I can also tell you that once you cross that line and can look forward and not back... There is an adrenalin rush with each successful move forward your business makes.

Find that something... work hard... and MAKE THAT LEAP!

Good Luck on your Journey,
Mel Atwood

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