Somewhere along the line, we’ve all been tricked. We’ve been tricked into thinking only certain types of people with well developed skills and a professionally vetted plan can become entrepreneurs. We think we need a license to entrepreneu (I made that word up) before we can become entrepreneurs. Actually, it’s not even that we’re tricked, it’s that…
Ever feel like your job locks you into a prison like environment with rows of cubicles and a boss always hovering around? If that’s the case, then good news, Whole Foods wouldn’t even sell you because you’d be considered a Step 0 in their Animal Welfare Rating! Whole Foods wouldn’t even consider you until you have no cages, no crates and less crowding!
As I was shopping the other day in their overstimulated world of brightly colored vegetables, GMO-free Cheerios and super cool employees, I thought about how relevant the rating scale is for our jobs. Sure, success and pay can’t be measured by their animal welfare rating, but if you’re like me, happiness as measured by freedom, might be.
The average worker bee’s life is five to seven weeks long. Within this time, they spend around 8 days developing, 12 days working inside the hive, and the remaining 22 days foraging for food and gathering pollen and nectar. Bees are a nearly perfectly efficient system where all members do exactly what they need to ensure the survival of their own species.
If something went wrong with the bee’s programming, they could quickly go extinct because their dependency on the whole group is too great to live individually.
The turn “Programmable” has stuck in my head for over a year now when one of my friend’s co-workers described a suburb north of Dallas as being very programmable. All the kids go to a massive high school and get into a good university, and four years later they’re in the workforce. They do just as their parents did before them and they feed the corporate world with plenty of workers.
His tenure at his company was approaching 35 years, and a well funded retirement and pension were just around the corner. He sacrificed for the company, and they paid him for it. It wasn’t just him who enjoyed this relationship, his wife also worked for the same company for 25 years and was looking forward to her pension as retirement was just around the corner.
However, this match made in heaven was about to end abruptly. It all started when my former employer was brought in to the company to help implement some systematic improvements to make their warehouses better (consulting lingo). As a consulting firm usually does, they continued finding work for the company while looking for areas to expand their presence and increase sales.
They soon found the answer: outsource the IT department to my firm; who, in turn would decrease costs by outsourcing the jobs to India. It’s a common model many companies have used the last decade.
Bob was a Director in the IT department. Now that the entire department was outsourced to my firm, his employer changed and so did the benefits he would receive during retirement. That’s right, he and his wife would no longer get the pensions they were ready to start collecting on because now they worked for a new company.
After ten months of unpaid leave from my company while we traveled the world, I knew it would be somewhat difficult to go back to my regular job. We rode elephants in Laos, pet tigers in Thailand, feared for our life in Jordan, and watched the mesmerizing Northern Lights in Iceland. We pushed ourselves beyond our previous limits when we hiked a mountain in Malaysia and visited 4 tiny villages in the remote mountains of Nepal as we trekked for 65 kilometers over four days. We saw each other every day, and almost every minute – with the number of times we were apart for more than an hour easily countable on two hands. We put every ounce of trust and faith in each other’s hands as we set out as a team to explore the world.
Our days were no longer defined by fighting through the week just to have two days to do what we wanted on the weekends – which are usually filled with doing chores we don’t want to do anyway! Instead, we did whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted, and we were more active than we’d ever been before. Our time wasn’t filled with lazy days on the beach, but instead of near constant motion of traveling to new cities, finding our home for the next few days, exploring the major sites, and at the same time planning our next destinations.