This is my message to the Occupy Wall St movement.
Let me start by saying that I agree 150% with your arguments. Yes the big businesses out there are corrupt and unfair. The CEOs of these companies are pigs. Here’s the problem though. They don’t care. They go home to their cushy homes with their nice families and everything in their world looks fine. They take their million dollar salaries and their 10 million dollar bonuses and buy more boats, homes and cars while you struggle to find a job. I understand the frustration. I just think you’re going about it all wrong. You’re complaining to the source of the problem about the problem and more importantly you’re complaining to people who don’t care. Do you really think the media is helping your cause? They paint a pathetic picture of a bunch of dirty and belligerence people pissing themselves and making these parks dirty with their presence. They talk about the spread of STD’s and then they need you to clear out after a certain amount of time because of the hazard. So the media is not your friend – these are some of the biggest companies controlled by some of the biggest pigs in corporate America – these are the people you are complaining about and these are the people you are complaining to and they don’t care.
I have heard a lot of complaining but I don’t think I’ve heard a single solution. I have a solution.
Occupy your own street. Not literally. I mean go out there and beat these pigs at their own game. They are the ones who control the government. They are the ones who get laws passed (like tax laws that affect business) to make things work to their advantage. USE that! Take advantage of these companies the way that they have been taking advantage of you. Go out there. Hit the pavement hard and don’t give up until you find a job. No one says it will be easy but my wife set out to find a job and do you know what she did? She made it her job to find a job. She worked full time at finding one and didn’t stop and in 3 weeks she found a job working as a receptionist at an animal hospital. It isn’t what she really wants to be doing but it’s SOMETHING to bring some money in while she works on the next stage.
The biggest problem you face is yourselves because there is a tendency and I’ve seen this over and over again to say things like, “oh that’s not going to work for me” or “I don’t have any skills”. That’s the problem. Instead of saying “others have it easier than me” no matter how true that might be, you have to change your perspective and say, “you know what? I’m going to find a way to make it happen and I don’t care what it takes. I will DO whatever it takes to make the life that I really want for myself no matter how hard I may have it right now.”
The biggest difference between you and the pigs at the head of these big corporations is that they have always said “I can” while you sit there saying “it’s not fair.” You’re right! It ISN’T fair, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. You may have to work a little harder at it, but here’s where that turns out to be a blessing. When you GET THERE? When you wake up one day and realize that you are living your dream, you will realize something so much more powerful than even THAT. That it is TRULY TRULY yours because you didn’t take short cuts. You worked your ass off for what you have and no one can ever take that away from you.
It is so easy to get a page up on the web and start putting a message out there explaining what skills you DO bring. Think about the jobs you’ve had. What were your daily tasks? Was it data entry? Great while you are looking for a job put a page up and tell people that you are available for hire as a freelance data entry clerk. That for $15/hour (or whatever you think it’s worth) you can help enter data for small businesses. Are you goo don the phone? Start putting pages up there for freelance customer service or sales. There’s a BIG void that needs to be filled. Customer service. It sucks in this country. Go after some of these big companies and tell them that you can offer them a better and less expensive customer service solution. If the existing customer service staff was doing such a great job then they would be too valuable for your offer to be considered. SO don’t worry about taking a job away from someone else. It’s time we all took responsibility for ourselves. That’s why when a company I recently started working with doing QuickBooks training asked me if I wanted to be contractually exclusive I said no. I am confident enough in my abilities that I am not worried, and I don’t know of many people that will ever work as hard as me which is one of the biggest reasons I do not worry about competition. And when you are building your dream working to create your own like I am then let me assure you no one will ever be able to compete with you at what you do.
So what if you’re not the “CEO” type? What if you don’t want to have your own company? That’s fine, but offer your services on a freelance basis while you are looking in the conventional way (ie by interviewing etc..). There is no better way to find your permanent place of employment. Do you know how many job offers I’ve had over the years from clients? At one time I took one and closed the doors to Nerd Enterprises (save one or 2 clients) for about 2 years. That was enough for me to realize that I was happier doing my own thing, but for YOU? You may find the job of your dreams while you are freelancing and in the process finding out who you really are, what you really want to do, and with whom you really want to do it. Maybe more importantly whom you are sure you do NOT want to do it with!
So do me a favor! Get out of the parks! Occupy Your Own Street by building your own street. Build your dreams and you will beat these pigs at their own game. Then when enough of us are out there doing what we really want, using the big corps to hold us over with jobs while we work in the background on building our own dreams, then leaving them when the time comes showing them the same lack of loyalty they have shown us while making room for the next person who needs to use them. Maybe then we might build a few big enough companies who are responsible that we might have a “REAL” say with our government. Then we can lead by example – cutting a CEO’s compensation before laying off employees. Looking at how many people might be able to keep their jobs another year buy cutting executive compensation by $1,000,000 first. Then the new talent joining the workforce might look for the security offered by our new responsible companies instead of going to work for these big companies. And if we can steal the talent then it gets that much easier to steal their customers and we can do it because we don’t have the overhead that these behemoths have.
If you want to see these pigs change then you have to hit them in the one and ONLY are where they do care. Their pockets! That is the ONLY way you’re going to get their attention and this is all really just my long way of saying “Let’s all BE the change that we want to see in the world.”
I staged my own protest back in 2003 when I started my own company. Now I know that not everybody wants to have their own company. I am sure however that there are many among the OWS crowd who do. Meanwhile if you find yourself out of work and looking unsuccessfully for a new jobs then why not spend some time putting a page or two up on the internet about what you can offer people in terms of your skills. At least you can pick up some side work while you’re looking and who knows? Maybe one of those side jobs becomes a permanent one? That exact thing happened to me. In fact I had two opportunities years ago and took one of them to work full time at one of my “clients”. Then I went back to consulting because in my case I liked working for myself much better than I liked working for someone else. If I AK going to do the work why not put the lions share of the money in my own pocket?
The media is making fun of you. They are not helping your case. When I see the coverage I see arrests and then I see stories about how STDs are spreading amongst you. This coverage is not helping you its hurting you. What’s more is you are complaining to the source of the problem about the problem. Like Einstein said no problem can be solved with the mind that created it.
So what if the people who are organizing OWS put up a simple web page to gather information about the skills of the protestors? What if instead of a formal protest you started your own company. Or a whole bunch of them? You think you can’t compete? Here’s where your big advantage is. They have tremendous overhead and they are behemoths who are slow to react. It costs nothing to start a business and develop A presence online to bring in customers. I know if I saw something like this I would make it a point to use your services and boycott the big boys. Because I share your frustration. I think these big companies are disgusting in terms of how they treat their employees.
I am sure that among the OWS crowd there are every level of potential employee from brick layers to CEOs. So why not beat these pigs at their own game? Why not use the same loop holes that they live off of to build “responsible” companies? Companies who above all else will do one important thing that all of our major banks and big corps seem to have overlooked to the nth degree?… CARE
So instead of protesting against them, do something FOR yourselves. That’s what I did long before your movement came along. I staged my own protest and started my own company so I could create the experience in life that I really wanted for myself. It was the best decision I ever made. You can do it as well. You just have to decide that you’ve had enough and tthat you want to create your destiny instead of relying on anyone else.