It used to be you could find a job soon after college and work there the rest of your life. After years of faithful service you could cash in on your retirement and receive a nice party and a gold watch on the way out.
But things are changing. Pontiac got the axe, Saturn is being discontinued within the next 12 months and companies like Microsoft, IBM and just about every airline are laying workers off at an astonishing rate.
Here’s the thing … change is happening right now. You don’t have to like it, but you must learn to accept and deal with it. Change isn’t a recent phenomenon caused by a bad economy.
We can look back 150 years to find very few people working for corporations. Most worked for themselves and provided a product or service that other people needed. Imagine the surprise experienced by some when the assembly line was perfected by Henry Ford. People left their ‘jobs’ in droves to work in factories.
When the cotton gin was perfected by Eli Whitney in 1793 you might have expected many people to suddenly find themselves out of work. Instead, the cotton gin revolutionized an industry and created jobs.
Thomas Edison perfected the light bulb filament in 1880 and I’m guessing many candle makers thought they’d be out of work forever. Today seven out of ten households use candles (even though they have electricity as well) and in the U.S. alone sales topped more than $2 billion last year.
During the first half of the nineteenth century ice harvesting was big business until refrigeration standards were perfected. We still find ice for sale in nearly every grocery store and gas station in America and recent yearly sales have come close to $6 million.
Change is clearly all around us. The challenge is to stop viewing it as a negative event and instead welcoming it as an opportunity for growth.
“With each new penny and nickel we issue, we increase the national debt by almost as much as the coin is worth.” – Edmund Moy, Director of the U.S. Mint.
I find it interesting that it costs the U.S. Mint (and ultimately the tax payers) 1.5 cents to create a penny and nearly 9 cents to manufacture a nickel.
Copper prices have risen but the mint seems to be rooted in the mindset that says “but this is always the way things have been done.” Steel just happens to be a metal, that if used to manufacture pennies, could save up to $100,000,000 annually. Due to a shortage of copper during World War II the U.S. actually used steel to make pennies. That year was 1943.
I help individuals and businesses who are struggling nearly every day, doing things the way they’ve always been done, afraid to try something new. In the current Business Coaching Group that I’m leading, I pointed out on the very first day that the economy has changed. Regardless of the economy changing however, it’s important to point out that the market, and thus our reality, has changed so we must be doing things different, regardless of the economy.
The bottom line is this… If you’re doing the same things now that you were doing at this time last year, you’re getting left behind. Broaden your horizons. Try new strategies and ideas. Be open to change; after all, without change we wouldn’t have electricity or indoor plumbing and we’d all be riding horses and buggies. I bet the guy manufacturing horse whips down the street from Ford Motor Company in their early years had wished he embraced change instead of remaining rooted in his current reality.