Why Your Day Job Just Ain’t Enough: Having Tunnel Vision in Today’s Economy

“My mama told me: ‘Boy, make a decision!’
Right now I gotta keep a tunnel vision” — Kodak Black (Tunnel Vision)

TL;DR: The economy is changing at a dramatic pace. A simple day job isn’t a ticket into financial freedom. Software is eating the world. But let’s move forward.

The Sad Truth

If your parents told you to go to a good college to find a good job, they probably weren’t giving you good advice. Have you ever talked to a friend who gave you advice that was completely irrelevant to your situation? That one person who has difficulty looking at a situation from your lens. The folks who say, “Well, if I were you, I’d do this…”. You’re not me, bro.

That’s effectively what many of our parents have done. They’re giving us advice based on the labor market that they came into decades ago and not the labor market that young professionals are coming into today. And it’s probably the worst thing that they could ever do.

Wages have stagnated for the middle class and below for decades if you take into account inflation. College graduates have experienced non-existent wage increase since the recession. All the while, the average amount of student debt that a student accumulates during college has skyrocketed over the past few decades.

Graduate degrees are becoming the new undergraduate degrees. Undergrad programs no longer give that large bump in salary that they once did. So, essentially, modern-day students are going into deep debt just to go into debt some more. The numbers simply don’t add up.

If you’re going into the economy as a white collar worker, technology may eat your lunch soon. Software is disrupting every part of the global economy and no jobs are safe. Lower class households feel the pain the worst, but everyone will come out of this transitional economic period bruised.

But why am I telling you this?

I’m telling you all of this to let you know that your “9 to 5” ain’t enough in today’s economy. Financial freedom is pretty close to esoteric with just a nice corporate job. It’s impossible if you’re not white collar. The security and benefits that existed in our mom and pop’s economy no longer exist. Get it? Got it? Good.

I’m not saying this to scare you, but to rally you to have a power mindset in today’s economy. As Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz said, “Software is Eating the World”. But that’s okay. Although software may automate some aspects of your profession or a majority of it, technology also has its perks.

Professionals who are able to build themselves outside of or in addition to a day job will become the winners in today’s economy. And luckily, in a digital world, making additional income is cheaper than ever.

So what are a few things that technology has done?

  • Created the gig economy. Need some extra cash? Drive Uber. Work with Postmates. There are literally a zillion side jobs to find an extra dime.
  • Created more new and efficient marketplaces — think crowdfunding platforms, lending and investing platforms (Indiegogo, Lending Club, SeedInvest, Groundfloor, etc).
  • The cost of creating a digital brand is lower than ever — Wix, Squarespace, Wordpress, and others are cheap platforms helping people just like you monetize on their brand and expertise at low cost.
  • The cost of software development is cheaper than ever — it used to cost millions to get a business off the ground.
  • Also, let’s not forget that technology can automate stuff for us, too. There are plenty of software tools that we can use for free to launch our own hustles.

Why am I mentioning these changes in the economy? Because they offer opportunities to make extra income at a lower cost than ever before. While you’re less likely to receive a salary increase at work than in previous years, you have the power to make additional income in ways that our parents dreamed of.

I look at the economy that’s emerging as the “me economy”. As technology continues to advance, the average person will be forced to use their professional skills to make additional cash. Especially if they’re seeking financial freedom. The world is becoming more democratized and decentralized. Any individual can win in that environment with courage, consistency, and passion.

But Garrett, what are the things that we can do now?

  • If you work in a certain industry, you probably know more about that industry than other people, write about it from your perspective and look to make money off it — bloggers make plenty of money through partnerships and advertisements.
  • If you have extra cash sitting around, put some dough into a few financial marketplaces — you’ll make more money putting cash into investments than letting it sit in savings.
  • If you have a certain skill, consider doing some form of consulting — people around you will pay for the skills you’ve built at your job.
  • If you have extra time, participate in the gig economy — then put that gig economy money to use by investing.
  • If you have an idea for a business, the costs are lower than ever to start — give it a try.

Nothing is more consistent than change. Adjust to the economy before it adjusts your earnings.