Are We a Nation of Workers or Entrepreneurs?

Remember the “good old days” when we could start working for a company right out of high school or college? We’d stay with that company for 30, 40 years and retire in our fifties or sixties with a nice pension, a gold watch and comfort in knowing that our futures were secure?

Nah, I don’t remember them either, but I have read about such fantasies and seen them in old movies and such. As part of the Baby Boomer generation the days of job security were more illusionary than fact, especially over the past twenty years. It is a sign of the times and as much as we lament about the good old days, these days offer more opportunities that ever before!

Entrepreneurship used to be considered odd and risky and even though it is still risky, it is no longer odd. The days of becoming a small business owner by the seat of your pants, with no training, no plan and no direction will soon be gone. Entrepreneurship classes are taught at virtually every major university and some of the best in the country are in our back yards, like UCI, UCLA, Chapman and Pepperdine. As much of the 90% of all your clothing is made overseas and the United States is no longer the manufacturing powerhouse it once was. Factories and unions are quickly becoming relics of the past and are opening up big voids for those that can create simple ideas and business models and implement successful strategies.

As we face an unemployment rate of 9.3% in Orange County, which is extremely conservative, and 12.4% in the state (stats provided by EDD) what does this bode for our workers with limited skills? Do we re-train them with new skills without having a place to apply them? Or do we teach them how to develop their own businesses and possibly put some of those people to work? That is what happened during our last mid 90’s recession. Many of the unemployed aerospace engineers and bankers created their own companies based on their own knowledge, insight and talents.

Today there are many government sponsored re-training programs available, but this whole scenario and the agenda must be well thought out to determine which comes first: the chicken or the egg. I believe that the jobs must be created first since the workers are readily available to fill them.

If you look around you will notice that successful business creation at a young age is no longer becoming the oddball event. It used to be that striving to “become a millionaire by the time I reach 30” was the enviable goal. In today’s world with computer and entrepreneurial skills taught at such a young age, either directly or by example, the idea of becoming a millionaire (or at least financially successful) at 25 or even 21 in some cases is becoming commonplace.

There are many more Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerbergs out there, just visit http://www.retireat21.com/top-young-entrepreneurs, to see the top millionaires under age 30. How many of them are right here? Let’s accept the fact that America is changed and forever will be different than in the past 100 years and embrace innovation and ventures.