This story is based on my Quora answer, and acts as a follow up to the article: The End of Startups And Rise Of True Entrepreneurs.
So which is better? Should you plan your corporate career or become an entrepreneur from the start? What is the future of work?
Frankly, I strongly believe that neither is a particularly good option. The world is going to change faster than we expect and both a “corporate” and a “startup job” will be just that – a job. Which is not enough for a modern human.
As society evolves, the whole notion of having a job will change. This is something I wrote about here at greater length, when I discussed how the imminent death of startups could give rise, to what I call “true entrepreneurship”.
Meaningless jobs will be replaced
My thesis goes something like this. When capitalism started to become a dominant “religion”, people started flocking towards it. However they found little-to-no meaning in that kind of a job, simply because while doing it – they were a meaningless part of the system – clocking their daily 9-to-5 jobs.
That gave space to faster, more agile and often – much more meaningful – startup jobs. However, I believe, that society is now starting to realize that even that kind of job will make you a part of a larger system, as it adds very little to your own personal goals. After all, startups are designed by nature to become corporations. That is “their” dream. Which is what Google, Uber, and many others have become. So, while it is more “fun”, it is not necessarily always more – meaningful.
Which again creates space for a new kind of, let’s say, vocation (to be distinguished from a “job”). One that does not just focus on someone else’s goals and dreams, but on specifically your dreams. That kind of an organization might be the one we can expect in the future, where you might be a part of something, but really – working for yourself at the same time. If this were to happen, it would also create organizations which do not put profits at the centre of their “meaning”. Working for such a company could then become a much more meaningful experience for each individual.
Why would this happen?
If you live in Finland today, then you are almost no different from Bill Gates, even if you live on government subsidies. You have the same phone, laptop, roof over your head, access to food and the worlds best education. You are also in the top 1–2% of the population when it comes to yearly income.
Globally, the average income is increasing, minimum wages are rising and some governments, such as Finland, are experimenting with universal basic income.
Combine that with the fact that many “meaningless” jobs are beginning to be taken over by robots, AI, blockchain and other technological advances. Hence, we will be left with more meaningful things to do, and since the society will create value out of nearly “thin air”, profits will become less meaningful. After-all, what more could you want when you have everything?
We are a long way to go, but money will become more and more meaningless for much of the western world, and hopefully the rest will follow.
As a result, if you have all that, do you really want to spend 8–12 hours a day working for something meaningless? I don’t.