Today’s news in Austin bemoans the restructuring of the American economy… The following clipping from today’s Austin American Statesman tries to put a happy face on a cold hard fact: 900 people just lost their jobs at Dell. Furthermore, I have heard an early rumor that more jobs are being cut today across a number of other companies. These are the trends that are driving Conceptual Shift #2- the shift from a “knowledge economy to a knowledge ecology”. First let’s look at a direct quote from the article today:Dell cutting 900 jobs with North Austin plant closure:
First and foremost, I recognize that this is a business decision, that Dell is making in order to survive…. Yet recognize, how is it that Dell has had to make such a drastic decision- when there could have been other options previous to this choice?
What options? This is where the opportunity to transition from a “knowledge economy to a knowledge ecology” is happening… if not by strategists at Dell, certainly by some of the disaffected workers that are losing their jobs today. Some number of these former employees are going to recognize the false illusion of the stability of the “job” of the past, and start transitioning to becoming entrepreneurs- making their own employment. And in the end, this will benefit both Dell and Dell’s former employers- for the ecology of work will become much more resilient…. (right now, as an example, 900 workers hitting the unemployment lines at the exact same time. This will make finding the next job for each one of them very, very difficult. Moreover, many of these workers will not have yet developed the skills to become entrepreneurs yet )
And to the former employees that just lost their jobs… make sure that you wake up when you read the word opportunity in the line above “We believe we have a $3 billion opportunity to drive both productivity and efficiency“. When a former employer looks at cutting your job as an opportunity, it is time to change your outlook on the idea of a job.
What needs to happen is we, the Austin community, need to start working together at a level that we have not done before- and fight the recession that we are in head on. I am hopeful, that although this economic downturn will be very hard on the workers that are displaced, that through the shattering of the idea of long term employment, better entrepreneurial outcomes will come for all.
Moreover, it is time to stop coddling companies like Dell. From the article above:
Dell also received almost $280 million in incentives from the state of North Carolina to build the plant, which is not operating at full capacity.
This is a shame…. If you remember that over 50% of the jobs created in the US last year were created in firms of 10 people or less. It is time that US economic policies start promoting our entrepreneurs to create resilient business ecologies. $280 million dollars would have gone a long way to create opportunity for entrepreneurs, whether through the programs that we are doing through Bootstrap Austin or Door64 here in Central Texas. 900 people lost their jobs today. Let’s do something to ensure that we support our entrepreneurs into the future to create resilience in our job marketplace, and to fight this recession that we are in.