Recycle me

Have you seen this person? He’s in his thirties, has been working for the same company for the last 10 years, earns a decent salary, has a young family, a car, a house and goes on holiday 2 or 3 times a year. Unfortunately, he’s also pretty unhappy in his job and has been for some time. He’s bag on headcreative and wants to achieve things but so far hasn’t been able to leave the place he currently finds himself in. He has ideas but doesn’t want to risk leaving his job and doesn’t have the time or the energy to invest in setting something up in parallel. He may remain unhappy for the next 25 years or worse, he may simply burnout along the way. Not a great situation for him and he’s not exactly overly productive for his employer either.

Sound familiar? Certainly does to me. I think I’ve met lots of people like that in the 15 years I spent as an employee. I’m not suggesting that its the majority but what I do know is that rates of burnout are increasing. I also read recently that Belgium has a relatively low rate of entrepreneurs ( What if there was a better way of helping unhappy employees transition to being productive entrepreneurs? In other words, what if we could recycle them?

On Friday, I had the pleasure of attending the “Systemic Economy Summit 2”. I’ve been to plenty of conferences in my time and this was genuinely one of the best in terms of theme, speakers and the dynamic amongst the attendees. It brought together lots of people who share my goal of trying to create a different economic reality where people and values take centre stage. It was while sitting there listening to one of the speakers that the idea of recycling employees became clearer.

Neither the person with the bag on his head nor the company (often with their head in the sand) are really benefiting. Nor is the greater economy as demotivated, underproductive employees can end up costing the system in terms of sick leave etc…

My question to you is that if you know someone who loosely fits the description at the beginning, let me know. I’m interested in talking to them about my own experience of transitioning from being an employee to being an entrepreneur and getting their input on what they think they would need to also make the leap. If people are the greatest asset in an economy, let’s do more to help them contribute in a way which makes them happy and where the rest of us benefit from their contribution.


3 responses to “Recycle me

  1. Hello David
    For a few moment I really though you were talking about me 🙂
    Interesting thoughts.
    I believe that a better professional life does not necessarily mean to become an entrepreneur or leave one’s job to start something alone or in partnership. Not everyone is shaped to be an entrepreneur.
    As far as I am concerned, evolution, instead of revolution, would be more appropriate I think. Evolve towards another position, another company, another sector that require different skills/competences and being given the chance to develop them while bringing your experience.
    Find a better match between employer and employee would already be a great step.
    There is also the question of balance between the added value you can bring to an employer and the return you get in terms of salary package, flexibility, well-being, etc. that must not be underestimated.
    I thought I’d post this to feed the debate…


    • Thanks Jeff. Debate is what I’m hoping to stimulate and the world is far more interesting when people have different opinions and are willing to share them. Indeed, not everyone can or should be an entrepreneur. My point is that a certain percentage of unhappy employees could. I also think that those unhappy employees need to be realistic about the “company changing”. In many cases, the issue may be inside the person rather than the company so changing function may not be the answer.


  2. Pingback: How to stop working for others and start working for yourself | David Mellett·

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s