Reinvent Yourself Or You Will Disappear

English: CALEXICO, CA, 4-4-07 --- Hundreds of ...

In the last eight years, I have been pointing out in my lectures, courses, workshops and articles that the large industries will merge in the near future and decrease the number of their employees, because technology is slowly but surely replacing manpower. What seemed fictional or unthreatening twenty years ago is a tangible threat for employment these days. The earth’s population has been rapidly growing and many people graduate from universities and colleges with excellent grades. and still, technology is slowly but surely replacing human effort and work.

The facts speak for themselves: there are hundreds of thousands job seekers, hundred of thousands of unemployed people, and large companies have decreased the size of their manpower. The different markets change constantly and become a fertile ground for competition. The saddest fact of all is that more and more people find themselves fitting the title of Overqualified; people aged 40+, who lose their job and cannot find a new one.

I say again and again in my lectures: this is NOT a temporary concept or a passing trend. I worry that almost every person who gets to age 45 will find herself without a job. (Perhaps 80 percent of the 40-50 age bracket will become unemployed.) These are excellent professionals who still have plenty to offer and contribute. I meet tens and hundreds of people in this situation every month; people who have lost their jobs, meet rejection over and over again, but still hope to find a new job. I find it hard to believe they will find a job at the same level and with the same salary and benefits as the one they lost, if at all!!!

This is an era of entrepreneurs. I see the sheer number of start-ups opening around the world, the small businesses swallowed day in and day out by the large companies, which purchase them for millions of dollars. This is definitely the flourishing time of small and mid-sized businesses, of entrepreneurs and independent thinkers.

Every person has knowledge she  acquires throughout her life. The people who find themselves unemployed at age 45, have a few options of what to do with their knowledge: sell the knowledge as information through teaching, consulting, etc; turn it into an electronic product, such as an application, an Ebook or a website, and sell it; or simply abandon the entire accumulated data and reinvent themselves. A person who works for 25 years and loses her existential security finds it very hard to reinvent herself. She finds herself in a tough, discouraging place, without professional support for making the necessary change. We must also remember that working under someone else for over 20 years becomes a habit and a way of thinking. This person will need to change her entire thought process in order to become a successful entrepreneur.

The year 2012 is a turning point for the entire world. The world of marketing and advertising has changed. Businesses and industries which used to sell programs for thousands of dollars, now sell the same programs, and even more advanced options, for relatively small prices – less than $50. A program or application which costs $14 is considered pricy today. Anyone can write a book these days, upload it to Amazon, sell it by themselves and market it with no help. There is an entirely new profession these days: the Social Media manager. People are hired for the sole purpose of managing the Facebook page or any other social website presence of businesses and companies in order to generate more customers.

We mustn’t follow trends only, but we should understand the direction of the market. If you only follow trends, your competition will increase and you will not be able to shine over your competitors. If you note the trends and invent a new strategy, you will leave your competitors far behind you.

I worry that without understanding these new developments, people won’t be able to survive in the next 20 years. They won’t disappear from the world, but their income will shrink and their buying power will decrease. The competition will grow and many people will find themselves in a lower class.

People should use their skills and talents, create new initiatives, start small businesses, offer services of different kinds. The problem is that many don’t know where to start.

There is no place for guesses, no space for dreams or unfounded hopes. You must take decisive and precise action, based on knowledge of how to start a start-up or small business and how to reinvent yourself.

I want to wish you and yours a happy new year, full of joy, abundance, and good health!

Opher Brayer

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