Americans Quitting their Jobs in their Quest for Happiness?

Posted on May 29, 2011


The other day I  received a text from a client who needed me to send them a file ASAP.  I was at a friend’s house and didn’t have my laptop with me, but thanks to the cloud, where I store all of my important files, pictures, MP3s, etc., I was able to access my files through my friend’s  computer and send the file to the client through my webmail account.  The next day, my wife and I began clearing  our many bookshelves so that the carpet installers can move the shelves this  week to install our new carpet.  While carrying the endless stacks of books from room to room, I imagined how my  grandkids will never have to do this as they won’t have any bookshelves since all of their books will be in the cloud and accessible on some type of Kindle  device.   No more local hard drives, no  more bookshelves, the cloud is slowly transforming how we look at things.

I have written  about the cloud in a previous column but one cannot talk enough about the  paradigm that the Cloud is creating.
2011 is the equivalent of 1995 when a large number of Americans began signing  up for dial-up Internet subscriptions.
We knew that the wire coming into our computer was going to  revolutionize both our lives, and the world at large, we just didn’t know how.  Like the birth of the Internet, the Cloud is  going to kill millions of jobs across the country, but it is also going to
create millions of opportunities as well.  If you’re a young person today, you need to be focused on how you can
leverage the opportunities brought about by the Cloud and make your fortune.

There were many  predictions in the mid 90’s about how the Internet would revolutionize our  lives, many of them proved to be highly idealistic and never came to  fruition.  Similarly today, there are  many who have lofty visions of where the Cloud will take us, one of them being  a financial analyst who knows little about IT.

His name is James  Altucher.  He is a financial analyst and  frequent guest on CNBC and Yahoo Finance.  He has written about  a half dozen  books about financial investing but it is his most recent columns that have  garnered the most interest about him.  He
is actually encouraging Americans to begin planning to quit their jobs.  No, this isn’t an Atlas Shrugged John Galt  thing; Altucher says that there are millions of Americans who hate their job  and they deserve to be happy.  His most  recent article, Ten Reasons to Quit Your Job, outlines his basic premises of  why he feels that people should dramatically change how they live their lives  in order to obtain freedom and joy in their lives.

People commit to  jobs like they do their relationships, for all the wrong reasons.  Many people choose their jobs for “security”  but the past two recessions have shown how job security no longer exists.  He states that many hold on to their jobs in order to maintain the home that they own.  According to Altucher, the religion of home ownership in this country  was partly created by American corporations, for it is in their self interest that their employees own a home nearby that locks them into their job. The
housing bubble has unveiled the true financial risk of home ownership he says  and people should realize how a home mortgage limits their true career opportunities.  Other people hold on to  their jobs in order to put their kids through college, but the impending  college bubble is showing that the thousands of dollars that families dole out  for their kid’s college education is many times money not well spent.  His Ten Reasons are designed to bust through  the excuses that people give when asked why they continue working someplace  that makes them so unsatisfied.

Altucher says that  we are entering an era in which people should look at themselves not as a cog  in the machine, but as a business entity.  By living a fluid and flexible lifestyle, people can quickly make  themselves available to new opportunities and adventures.  He says that only by attaining a high degree  of flexibility, can we accurately determine the true economic value of our  skills, education and experience.   In  his idealistic universe, he says that people should move around and experience  new places.  Just as we date different  types of people when we are young to find out what we like, we should do the  same with our homes and careers.  Find  out what’s it like to live downtown for a year, then find out what it like to  live in the country.  Find out what it’s  like to work for a large company, a small one, a non- profit or go out on your  own and server your own customers.

Critics of  Altucher write his recent ideas off as true idealistic fantasy which they very  well may be. There is no doubt that the fruition of his ideas are immune from  the constraints of limited immobility.  As I have stated in a previous column, the Cloud is coming, and it will  change your life, and maybe in a way that brings a level of joy and  satisfaction that you never imagined.