The Occupy Wall Street movement, whether we agree or disagree with all of its concerns, aims, social dynamics, or courses of action, is a catalyst. It would be a mistake to learn nothing, to have no response, and to ignore the opportunity for enhancing our own plan of action and manner of thinking. Whenever a new startup changes the game, we learn, if we’re paying attention. The same must be true of new social movements, which have everything to say about how we work.
Here then, for your consideration, is submitted an action plan and manifesto for the jobhacker. Here is how we occupy the American economic system.
The Action Plan: If we want to truly Occupy America, it’s harder work that carrying a sign, camping in a park, or going to jail.
- Start a business – occupy the economy. If you want a voice at a corporate board meeting, you have to buy shares. If you want an economic voice, you can’t be the cattle on the economic farm, or the battery powering the cubicle farm. You gain shares in the economy by building a wealth-generating property upon it. You want to occupy Wall Street? Create a company.
- Collaborate and engage in coworking and startups. Founding businesses is the original basis of our founders’ democracy – ask those guys who opposed the stamp acts. They didn’t call for more taxation of business – they were business founders who knew that business that was neither subsidized by taxation (like the megacorps in big food, big energy, big pharm, big finance) nor heavily burdened by taxation (e.g taxing gains and dividends) were the cornerstone of all possible liberty. They were, regardless of size, what we today call “small” business owners. They weren’t camping, they were creating.
- For every grievance that the 1% has exported our jobs, create a new job to replace it. You can’t complain that someone else is responsible for keeping jobs here, if you aren’t producing any jobs yourself.
- For every grievance that corporations aren’t taxed the same as we are, get yourself taxed the way they are – start a business, make it profitable, and earn capital gains. Yes, our system is designed to favor businesses, because business is the free economic engine that powers liberty. Depending on a dispensary of jobs empowers dependency, not liberty. Don’t complain about bad treatment from the farmer – stop being a cow (say “moo”). You have every right to create your own business entity, as long as it honestly intends to make a profit – do it, and then make some real money. The US doesn’t have a shortage of tax income – it has an excess of spending and waste and a shortage of tax producers.
- For every grievance that the corporate ‘animals’ are getting fewer and bigger, eat bigger animals than yourself. Become predatory about irresponsible or unhelpful corporations, like the mongoose going after the giant snake. One day, you can collaborate with enough other small businesses to buy the big corporations out, but meanwhile just do it the usual way – put them out of business by being more agile, lean, creative, and innovative – by the time you get done, they won’t be worth buying anyway.
- Liberate the economy, for yourself and for everyone else: build, invent, innovate, create, and sell.
- Above all, sell. What is needed now isn’t more political ideas. In this economy, with the candle burned down to this nub, any idea that doesn’t make money is wasted. It’s the same with the environment and climate change, isn’t it? We’re in a state of emergency. You think taxing the rich will save us? It won’t even buy you more Cheetos on the way down. We need ideas that lead to the generation of work, wealth, and the rebuilding of the collaboration and community of mom and pop businesses, entrepreneurs, and free agents (we used to call those yeomen). We need a renaissance of the things that start up an economic engine, because this one, and indeed the world that has come to depend upon it, is stalling, and it’s about to be a dark, ugly, brutal fight for the last of the fuel.
The Manifesto: You want to carry a sign? Let it be your brand name, and it should stand for “I add value to the economy. I am self-sustaining. I create work. I make new things. I have new profitable ideas, and then build an enterprise out of them that puts wealth into ordinary circulation. You are a jobhacker, and this is your manifesto:
- I build more than I use. I build enough for three people. It’s not enough to just support yourself anymore. If you want to have a world to live in, you have to support those who will be your clients and fellow consumers too. Don’t just use only what you need, like the guy who just buries his talent and doesn’t grow it. If we are to survive, you must not only not waste – you must create excess. You must contribute to genuine societal wealth in ways that trebly exceed your own use of it.
- I create the economy I want to see, not rob it from others like cave men in a famine surrounding the village with the granary and wielding their demands and their clubs (We are all bludgeons, you know, or else we are builders, growers, and makers of things). The economy is only a dictate if we allow it to be. They can’t repair or restore it – they don’t know how, and couldn’t if they did. We are the builders of the emerging economic order, not them. Recognize they’re dinosaurs and stop focusing on them and the old economy – focus on what *you* are doing to create the new one.
- I don’t wait. You still want corporations to *assign* us things to make? Why are they the only source of ideas? That’s thinking exactly like the 1% wants you to think. It’s their competitive advantage. Be a thousand points of innovation, and found not a thousand new camps, but a thousand new successful startups. Camp on the economy they want to control.
- I don’t lament a lack of jobs. Who ever told us that we were guaranteed a job for life, ensured by corporations, the government, or society? Our parents? They were wrong. Who made us think we were entitled to a job? They were wrong. There may be few jobs, but there’s plenty of work, because the field of innovation is unlimited – not enough of us are discovering and doing it. Create your own job – employ yourself, and be an example for people to do likewise. Create the new model, don’t depend on the old one. Thinking of a job as a social entitlement that someone gives you is thinking of yourself as just as much a tool of corporate greed, a farm animal, as if you were the “Megamart” or “Megapharm” CEO looking down. Build a better alternative. Take responsibility for your own skill set and how it adds value to society. If you truly can provide a service someone wants, you don’t need a job, you can sell, contract, or employ yourself.
- I don’t lament jobs moving overseas. Don’t want US jobs exported? Create several new ones in the US, or wherever you prefer to live. If there aren’t enough jobs where you are, it’s because there aren’t enough job creators there doing new things. A lot of innovation is happening overseas, of course, but that isn’t the only cause of the drain. Instead of lamenting brain drain, be a brain yourself. A brain in this case isn’t a genius – it’s just someone who thinks about how to create value where s/he is. It’s not someone else’s responsibility to employ us; it’s our responsibility to employ ourselves. And if we can’t sell our services and skills on the open market, we own that and must revise our skills or our strategy. The alternative is the confession that in fact they, whoever is “responsible”, owns us in that way. I don’t want to have owners. I do not lay eggs or say “moo”.
- I don’t lament big corporate control. Don’t want to be dependent on big corporations? Start a small company and be just and ethical and open and curious and flexible and experimental and responsive and everything your last ugly company wasn’t. Enough of us will exceed and supplant them.
- I focus my voice on the core method of control. Want a democratic voice? Be like the first US citizens who had one – oppose heavy taxing of companies and found companies yourself, like they did. We were once “une nation de boutiquiers” – a nation of boutique owners – of shopkeepers. Enough of us owning a sector of the economy free from excess interference is a cornerstone of democratic freedom. And now, you don’t even need the shop to be a shopkeeper.
- I protest every day. Engage in the ultimate protest against corporate hegemony – start your own company, do contract work, become a freelance professional – ditch the dependency on a corporate job (or the lack of jobs), create *multiple* income streams instead of buying into their dependency system on just a single one for life – and then you are as free as they are. I don’t want a career, because a career is an unreliable myth – I want multiple or highly flexible income streams and the agility and mobility to change them as needed, adapting to demand, the economy, and my ability to innovate and create value.
If some of these items could be more specific, they gain by being more flexible and open to movement and differences of understanding. This isn’t the magna carta – we’re not going to post this on trees in the local park, although you may feel free to, if you give Jobhacker.org the credit. This is more or less a statement of principles that many of us are already living or engaged in, but it’s helpful to encourage ourselves and one another, and share with others the opportunities we see for not only making a meaningful contribution to our society, but also for defending our civilization from the decay into which both the Occupy Movement and the government and counterpolitical response indicate we are descending. Now is the time of our revitalization. Join us. Become a jobhacker or, if you are one, be bold and act knowing you are rescuing the bright city from collapse into a new dark age.
See you at the revolution.