Massive job losses are gloom and doom in the news. Sad children and distraught parents are caught on camera to tug at your heartstrings, enhancing an agenda for more social safety nets. What you don’t see are the people that instead of moping, head home pissed off, because they know that they have desirable ideas and skills that their former employer failed to see.
Many have been weaned from the corporate teat, and not all will suckle from it again. They will taste the freedom of working for themselves and never return to build profits for another, but will take their own market share and build their own business instead.
With the proliferation of general purpose technologies, such as the personal computer, the opportunities for innovation abound, and doing so becomes increasingly cheaper. The abundance of cheap technology in America would make possible the “Free Agent Nation” that Daniel Pink writes about.
In addition to the abundance of general purpose technologies, new networking and communication tools are being developed every day to help us connect with one another and effectively self-promote (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc). Also, deflation has made many things cheaper, so now is a great time to start new ventures.
If a consultant or firm can weather the current storm and come out successful and independent, the prospects for the future are bright. Also as a free agent it is easier to recover from the loss of a contract or two than it is for an employee to recover from the loss of a job that was his/her only source of income.
America is not driven by high grades (like the Japanese) and overarching job security (like the French) but by individual motivation and innovation! A few job losses might help us remember this and stir the pot of innovation!