depending on which poll’s figures you read, anywhere between 60% and 70% of millennials are eschewing the comfortable life in a normal business casual corporate job for the throes of entrepreneurship. and even without having a nice, bold number to count off, just using the smell test you can see the trend goes well beyond millennials. this is a pandemic of independence that’s sweeping the world right now.
in journalism and publishing, many writers are leaving their former newspaper and magazine outlets and publishers to create their own blogs and work for themselves as freelance journalists or self-published authors.
in video games, developers who have built some of the most well-known titles are leaving large development studios to create their own. even some large development studios are making massive cuts in headcount in order to become smaller, leaner independent creators.
in online media, known and respected personalities are dropping well established gigs at other content providers in order to create their own youtube channels, or podcast shows, and—in at least one person’s case—an entire media empire.
however, while authors like seth godin have achieved great success with their self-publishing forays, the truth is a tad less romantic. most authors make a mere $500 per book, and even that’s if they’re lucky. surely not enough to pay the bills. many indie games studios barely scrape by with enough money to cover the pizza and ramen noodles that power their late night coding sessions. and life for independent podcasters having to go toe to toe with major production companies is daunting to say the least. (i know because i fight that battle every week.)
with that being the case, if you can get a job working at a stable company making more than enough money to cover your bills, why on earth take on the monumental task of working for yourself? what would drive an otherwise sane person to disregard a sure thing for a life where success to many people merely equates to barely getting by?
as human beings, we all have something inside of us that makes us light up when the topic is raised in conversation. something that fuels us with a flow state where it almost seems that time and space around us stand still or, at the very least, don’t exist to us anymore. and now there’s this great awakening occurring where so many people are becoming aware of what those passions are, that they exist, and that it’s perfectly okay to chase after them.
large scale companies as we know them are on notice. if they’re not long gone yet, the days are surely numbered where “you’ll have a steady job, an experience-appropriate salary, and good benefits” is a legitimate selling point for working at an organization. the new selling point which so many people are buying into? “you’ll have the freedom to pursue your passions (and all the uncertainty that comes along with it), will measure success in the quality of your work and not the size of your paycheck, and have the benefit of going to sleep happy at night because you know you’re doing the only thing you ever wanted to.”
as an organization, what are you selling to the people who walk through your doors everyday? what’s the story you tell your new recruits? if you want to remain relevant in the next five years; if you even want to be around in the next ten to twenty years…
it better look a bit more like that second story.