No reckless dream
'Do not wait for someone to recruit you. Create your own job. Start a business.'
Imagine being born in one of the richest regions of the world. A country where everyone has enough to eat and drink. Where everyone is paid to relax in the sun for a few weeks and an army of doctors and nurses are ready to help you if something goes wrong. You hear stories about previous generations. Your descendants were people who worked hard. In this country you can go to school for almost nothing. People say that your education ranks among the best in the world. In short, your prospects are good. Your parents tell you to do your best at school, then you don’t even have to become a labourer. Fortune is smiling on you.
Until one day a recession is announced. Not for the first time, but this time it’s serious. Doubly serious, because apart from the job market the investment market is also collapsing. So you are not only facing unemployment, but the money you have saved is earning nothing. Trouble in paradise. What now?
See what the government will do for you, look out for help and support from multinationals? Not a bad idea in itself. It always feels better if the responsibility can be passed on. But if you think a bit further there is a problem. The government is well structured to manage money. To balance income and expenditure for the benefit of everyone. But the government is not able to generate cash. A country isn’t a company headed by a boss with a vision. And what about the multinationals? It’s touching to see representatives of this rich nation going to far-off countries on an election high to prevent factories from being closed down here. But “support for Belgium” really doesn’t feature high on the multinationals’ list of priorities. They go in search of nations that would be happy to work for starvation wages. And in this they are encouraged by us all, because we own shares in these multinationals and we demand from our bank that the shares must increase in value.
Whatever you have been promised, a solution to this recession cannot come from the government and won’t come from big foreign businesses. If there is a solution, you will have to create it yourself. By rolling up your sleeves and getting to work. Don’t wait for someone to recruit you. Create your own job. Start a business. Start small if necessary, but start.
No, it won’t be easy. Your parents will be the first to panic. They were brought up on truths such as “better a big employee than a little boss”. They have dreamed of a career for you, climbing a corporate ladder. Occasionally inviting neighbours and friends to celebrate your latest promotion. The last thing they want to see is you stacking boxes in the back of your house. Then there is your environment. The newspapers are always writing that social legislation in Belgium is a disaster for anyone wanting to start their own business. That isn’t very encouraging. And lastly there is the work. Running a business is hard work. Very hard work. Even having ideas, analysing them and implementing them will push you to the limit. And the older generation has made you afraid of this, very afraid. Wrongly so, actually, because work can be immensely enjoyable if you know what you are working towards.
Imagine that a hundred thousand young people – or people who are young at heart – today overcome these three objections and get going. Imagine that one in ten succeeds in building up something with a hundred employees on average. That means a million jobs. Add to that the money this will attract from all over the world. Crisis solved. All you have to do is see yourself as part of the solution. You might have to get used to it, but the feeling afterwards is great.
Every day valuable talent is given the boot, and just about everyone is looking for worthwhile investments. So in a country with a surplus of money and a surplus of talent it isn’t a reckless dream to bring the two together in meaningful new projects. Just do it.
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