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“We are all entrepreneurs”, by A. Quintana

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'We are all entrepreneurs' by A. Quintana

(About 6 min. reading)

If I make chairs and sell them in my own shop, nobody doubts that I am an entrepreneur. I use my skills, time and efforts to produce a chair that someone will buy. But if I go everyday to a larger workshop and make the same chair, and I get paid a regular wage for the same skills, time and efforts, then people say that I am an employee. The only difference between the two options is how many customers I have. In fact, in both scenarios I am a businessperson, although in the second one I have chosen to have just one customer who buys all my production and, in return for that, compensates me with a fixed amount not subjected to the risk of selling the chairs or not. For scaping from that risk and getting a secure salary, I lower the price and get less for my chair than I could if I sold it myself, thus allowing the other party to make a profit. Now, my point is that in both cases I am just a chair making entrepreneur.

Modern economic theory exposes the fallacy of this obsolescent separation of employees from the rest of entrepreneurs. We all belong to the latter category. Within the parameters of free economy we may choose to rent our minds and our physical strength to many or to just one, we may work at our own home or offices or at the customer’s premises, we may have a free schedule or agree a fixed timetable, and we may also agree payment in many fixed or variable ways, but all these facts shouldn’t make any difference on how we are perceived. We are all entrepreneurs. The sooner the workers realize that they are entrepreneurs providing a service to their customer (the employer) the sooner our economies will open up to meet the challenges of the new millenium.

The radical importance of the assertion that we’re all entrepreneurs resides in the fact that people govern their careers independently. As economy evolves, we shall see hundreds of options that will substitute the old “9 to 5” job. We shall see people working three hours here and two hours there to then study another four hours, for instance. And we shall definitely see top corporate executives being shared by, say, 4 non-concurrent companies and thus giving two hours of their time to each. We shall see mixed situations in which “the owners of the means of production” (as marxian and even keynesian economists would put it) will rent those means to the “workers” and share the profit, while a third party will deal with marketing.

Jeremy Rifkin and other theorists of the work revolution are right on one point: the whole concept of work as we used to know it is changing and will never be the same again. People will not make their whole career in one company or one industry. Permanent education will be the key to progress and the failure to manage one’s career with a long-term goal will mean stagnation and loss of opportunities. But those theorists fail to understand this new reality when they condemn this whole evolution as something evil and threatening to the people. On the contrary. For the first time real competition is fully conquering the world of work, and the full deregulation of employment will mean more freedom, more opportunities for “a la carte” work and better options for everybody to tailor-make their own careers. The employer-employee divide is fading and, together with it, so are the rigid schemes of the old economy.

(*) Spanish social historian. Published at Perfiles del siglo XXI online magazine in May, 2001. Translated and reproduced with permission.


Comprehensive career education glossary. Definitions of career education and career builder terms.

Adult basic education.    Adult general education    Adult secondary education.    Adult student.     Apprenticeship.    Aptitudes.   

Assessment.    Attributes.     Career.     Career branding.     Career Carnival.    Career change.    Career cluster.    Career coach.   

Career counseling.    Career exploration.    Career development.    Career fair.    Career guidance.    Career-Interest Inventory.    

Career mentoring.    Career objective.    Career paths.    Career planning.    Career program certificate.    Career resources.   

Career Trek.    Competencies (proficiencies).    Competency-based education.     Community Education.   

Continuing Workforce Education.    Co-operative career education    Cover letter.    Curriculum-Integrated program.   

CV. Curriculum Vitae.    Degree Vocational Education Program.    Demand occupation.    Distance education.    Doctorate.   

Dislocated worker.    Employability.    Entrepreneurial skills.    Formation.    Foundation skills.    Freelance career.    Head hunter.   

Home-based careers.    Human capital.    Human performance technology.    Human resources.    Immersion courses.    Internship.   

Job satisfaction.    Job shadowing.    Life coaching.    Lifelong learning.    Mentor.    Mentoring.    Moonlighting.    Motivation letter.   

Non-traditional careers.    Portfolio.    Postsecondary.    Prerequisite.    Real Game.    Resume.    Sabbatical year.   

School-to-career program.    Self-employment.    Self-instruction.    Skills.    Undergraduate.    Work-based learning.   

Work exploration.    Work readiness.    Work study.    Workforce development education.    Youth apprenticeship.

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