1099 Economy = Forced Entrepreneurship

Have skills

Back away from the coffee machine….

Before I get “rolling like a snowball down a snow covered hill”, to quote an old Temptations song, let me clarify why I call myself the Enlightened Rogue and why I have logged in more than 200 blog posts mostly raging against the machine. The name comes from what Duane Allman called his band because each was a brilliant musician in his own right and they were a pack of rogues. Hearing that band changed my life forever. The Allman Brothers Band.

I use the term because after more than 30 years in the corporate bubble, I finally became enlightened, then I went rogue. I was pretty naive in my early years at Dupont and all the way through my 13 years as a field based sales rep. I was bathing in the Kool-Aid and thought they would have to roll me out the door in a wheel chair. But field sales has a way of draining the life out of you. Year after year of self re-invention and bullshit stories, self possessed managers and oxygen deprived executives.

In 2003, after Bristol Myers Squibb bought us and I had been producing (soon to be illegal) content for my customers, I was relocated back east to head up my own studio. There, I got an up close look at how the sausage got made. That’s when things went southbound for me in a hurry. I’ve covered most of this clusterfuck in earlier posts so I’ll spare us both the frantic search for the revolver in the top drawer.

It was insult, injury and insanity. You got cynical in a minute. That was the biggest let down of my corporate career. These people could fuck up a steel ball. From there I started packing. Mentally and physically. It was over. Funny, when you stop giving a shit, your cortisol levels go way down.

I spent most of my working career before that as a professional chef and a musician. Rough and tumble living and both could end abruptly with just a tap on the shoulder. Gone. No questions. I had a chef tell me once, “I’ll throw you out the door without opening it”. Live by the sword…

Being a musician was even more shaky. Both occupations were rife with lowlifes, transients, serious drugs, alcohol and bad, very bad people. Not to mention long hours and little or no pay. But we always had a buzz on so it didn’t matter that much at the time.

That’s how I spent most of my first 35 years in the working world. Living and dying by your own hand. It’s always on you. No excuses. I’ve never lost that mind set. Always slept with one eye open.

To put a finer point on all my rantings, I read an article yesterday that puts the issue front and center called the “1099 Economy,” sobering to say the least and it’s coming to a town near you. Actually, it’s already here. Get thy shit together. You simply must come to terms with the fact that you are what you’re selling and how to negotiate your worth. Long hard lessons for me. (Excuse me, while I grab a tissue)

As a consultant myself, weaving my services as a content producer throughout the corporate community, I see it happening ever so subtly. Check out what’s happening with Biogen, the place to be not long ago. Over the last three years, I have covered venture capital sponsored biotech/pharma business development meetings and you get to see them pull their skirts up. They’re not building a campfire for you to sit around and sing “We Are The World”.

You know it’s gonna get good when one of the big shots from Merck, Bristol or Celgene leans forward and says “Can we shut the cameras off for a minute?” That’s the cue for my crew to kill the front tally lights on the cameras. The VC that hired us wants that information. It’s always incredibly revealing. That’s probably why they open the bar before the gig gets rolling. Loose lips.

I’ve never been asked to sign an NDA, even though I’ve offered. They must think I’m a potted plant. Incredible information. To be in the room when the BD guy for CVS gives you a sneak peek at their plans for the next five years is earth shaking. Plotting is a strong word but certainly appropriate here. They got big plans and it’s going to turn things upside down. Very impressive.

But if you think these guys are pulling down six figures and not planning your demise, you better click your heels together, Dorothy. They just want to be your friend, with benefits for them an none for you. Dating without a commitment. Maybe they’ll leave you something on the night stand. They run companies, not orphanages.

I said all that to say this. You simply must get around to a thorough self evaluation of all your marketable skills. If you don’t have any, get some. I’ve been out here for a while and it can get cut throat and chilling. Again, read the article I linked you to, the 1099 Economy, look at what Uber, Airbnb, Instacart, Upwork and TaskRabbit are morphing into. You need to learn to market yourself, learn to present your value proposition and stay ahead of the pack. Sharpen up those elbows and those presentation chops.

Remember, they never promised you a rose garden. Happy New Year!



Please note: I welcome comments that are offensive, illogical or off-topic from readers in all states of consciousness.

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