“Wall Street Made Me Do It”
Tim O'Reilly

Tim taken as a snapshot at a point in time it surely looks like corporate and investor greed at work and no one will deny the short termism that drives it. But long term stats do not lie. A company in the S&P 500 used to live 60 years, now less than 20. As a result life time employment is increasingly a rarity. If not offshoring, employers are moving to contract, franchise, crowdsourced talent models.

But it’s not a one way street. As consumers we switch loyalties quite easily and often driven by economics. Last time I checked we have over 100 SUV models to choose from so increasingly rare to find a lifetime Ford or Toyota family. I cannot remember the last time I signed a long term contract for anything. If a company issued a mission statement on the lines of ‘so long as our customers sign 30 year contracts we promise to offer long term employment’ I am sure they would attract a certain class of customer but not sure they would retain a majority for the lifetime.

My view is we need to make our labor more agile. We have to get them to think like athletes — in 5 life year employment spans. That way they are not surprised by such mass termination decisions. And frankly it would increase worker negotiation power if corporations knew individual workers would walk rather than deal with a union which is entrenched in the lifetime model.

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