Have you heard the catchy slogan “unemployment is not working”? That sentence is usually followed by, “We demand more jobs”. The two statements taken together, show clearly the ignorance associated with the meaning of the term “jobs”.
And from the high level of unemployment in Canada we can deduce that few people really understand what is required to promote “jobs”. Our political leaders make statements such as; “job sharing may be the only answer” and “the prosperity of the seventies is gone forever”. No cure will ever come from people who make those kind of statements, statements that simply show economic ignorance.
Much of the confusion at the root of our unemployment problem stems from a misunderstanding of three terms or concepts. The terms effort and work must be clearly defined in order to understand the concept “job”.
Let’s begin with effort. Effort can be any kind of activity, mental or physical, that requires energy. Effort can be either productive or nonproductive, beneficial to our lives or detrimental. It can be work or play, both for ourselves or for others, but effort is totally self-generated. By that I mean, your effort can only be mentally directed by you.
Work is constructive effort, effort expended to support life. Work is a goal oriented and thought directed activity. And we all know when we are doing work for work is an activity that is distinctly different from play or exercise or entertainment.
The term job describes a type of work, work that someone else is willing to pay you to do. A job is an activity or a task that someone wants done and they are prepared to pay you to do that task.
Often the term job and occupation are interchanged, yet reason tells us this is not really true. One may have an occupation, but no job and one may have a job outside of one’s occupation.
The term “job” is also incorrectly used to describe personal possession with regard to work. As a example, the phrase; “my job is ___” or “it’s my job to ___”. In actual fact, the owner of a piece of work is usually not the person being paid to do the work. This becomes very obvious if you quit a job, for the job doesn’t stop. The boss simply hires someone else to finish the job.
There is still more confusion because jobs are often equated with the term duty. Many persons continue to fulfill a perceived obligation, sometimes after the pay stops and often after any pleasure for doing the task is gone.
Simply put, a job is nothing more than work or effort that is directed to satisfy another person. Your concern is payment, but a job appears when someone is willing to pay for time spent doing a particular piece of work. The prime concern of the person willing to pay for the work is always to get the work done or the product out.
Very few people comfortably accept this glaring fact. The prime concern of the person paying is not the economic well-being of the person employed. This is not due to any malicious or uncaring aspect in an employer’s attitude – it’s strictly reality. On a one-to-one basis this is easy to see. When you hire a person, say a plumber, your only concern is to get the job done, to get the toilet unplugged or the faucet to stop dripping. Someone who hires a thousand people concerns themselves with exactly the same thing, getting the product out.
Often needless personal devastation takes place when a man is fired or “his” job terminated yet jobs are terminated because of market conditions. To take personal offense at a market condition makes absolutely no sense.
The market is the sum total of all voluntary exchanges, all the trading that takes place in the entire world. The loss of a job means that an employer can’t make money selling that particular effort on the world market. This may show a lack of accuracy on the part of an employer in assessing the market correctly and in desperation he cuts out work that costs too much. The market is refusing to pay.
A fact to keep in mind is that all persons pay on a voluntary basis. Be it product or work, everyone is faced with three choices. They can; (a) pay the price, (b) do the work or make the product themselves, and (c) do without.
If an employer is unable to sell our effort at a profit , we must look to the market ourselves and find a place where we can exchange our effort for the things we require for life. We will have to sell a product or our time ourselves. Selling directly into the market is the fastest way to learn just how much your time is valued by everyone else, and establishes a realistic view of personal worth.
It’s the willingness of exchange that is too often forgotten. Pay does not come from unwilling employers. Expecting too much pay for work is the cause of unemployment.
Most people forget that effort is individual and self-directed. It requires thought and our effort, if constructive is called work. Can we wait for someone else to solve our problems, especially when the cure probably must come from within ourselves? Our effort is really the only commodity that we do control.
On a daily basis, time is the single commodity we all receive equally. Our personal sense of worth, our egos, depend on personal accomplishments. It is the effectiveness of our time utilization that governs our personal satisfaction with life. The power to use our time constructively comes from our own minds, the rational thinking process all of us are capable of following if we try.
Yes, unemployment is not working, but to demand a job is to demand a willingness beyond our control, a mythological impossibility. Recognizing that exchange is voluntary is the first step back to the affluence that we had and yes, can have again. Work is truly unlimited and does not need to be shared. The market supports anyone that offers a value for sale, but only if the price is right. Jobs are plentiful when a person’s efforts are valued. The market is there and the choice is up each of us.