Thursday, November 04, 2010

Finding employment doing something valuable

Employment may not be what you think it is. Employment is when you have a job, right? Obviously. These days many people find themselves asking: What do you do when you don't have a job? Do you go door-to-door in the local business neighborhood asking for applications? Do you call all of your contacts and see who is hiring? Do you send out your resume and post it to all the on-line job markets? Well, it's worth a shot -- but there aren't that many people hiring right now.

But we've lost sight of some basic things. There are other legitimate ways to make ends meet than finding an employer. All it takes is to see something that needs doing, a project that is worth something, and do it. Anyone with a hammer and a bag of nails can do something valuable by repairing things. Anyone with a rake or snow-shovel can do something valuable. Anyone with a paint brush or roller can do something valuable. Anyone with a sewing machine or knitting needles can do something valuable. All it requires to do something worthwhile is to leave it better than you found it. And for those who want to get money from the process, it requires finding a price that people are willing to pay for the value of what you did.

Some would call it "starting a business" -- but a lot of people don't like the sound of that. They think being "self-employed" is risky. Risky compared to what, though? People say the income may not be steady at first -- but that's better than having no income at all. And the employer you imagine finding is nothing more than someone who once took that same risk and succeeded.

So the trick is not necessarily to find someone who will sign you up for 40 or more hours a week. The trick is to take your 40 or more hours a week -- which will come all the same -- and do something valuable with them.

That's one of the secrets of real value: prosperity is created by people who do something valuable. If you look at the great treasures of history, the reason they are worth so much is simply because people took their own hands and made something worthwhile. You can literally create value with the work of your hands. And at the end of the day, that's where all human-made value comes from.

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