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 creative 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 (http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/flash/fl_354_sum_en.pdf). 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.