Punchinello’s Chronicles

September 21, 2008

Do You Have a Real Job?

One of the better definitions of owning something is whether you can sell it. If you own it, you can sell it. That’s not to say whether someone will buy it, only that you can put it up for sale, collect something of value in exchange, then give the buyer that “thing.”

In a related concept, financial value is essentially what someone will pay (exchange) for something. The problem is whether or not people perceive a value in some particular thing or service. There is, after all, a difference between perceived value, market value, and intrinsic value.

Okay, enough with that: What do you produce in your job? How does your job improve the “productivity” of America? To get to the bottom of this, we’ve got to think of America as a store. What do we make, what do we sell, what do we re-sell, and so forth.

Let’s suppose you go outside and walk down the street, one evening. You come to a house a few doors down and ring the bell. Someone answers the door, and you smile, introduce yourself, and say, “Hello, I’m selling HR services. Can I interest you in perhaps a buying some of those services?”

Better yet, whomever answers the door and you say, “I’d like to speak to the head of your HR department.”

When we talk about buying things, we’re talking about the individual people in a society or country. A family is basically part of that individual unit, so we can include families as “individuals,” in this context. Real products and services ought to interest these individual people and their families.

“Hi. I’m here tonight to speak with folks like you about buying some customer service.” Is that something a family would buy?

A business might buy the customer service skills, so we can say that some things we produce are “business-to-business.” Only another business would purchase the product. What if there were no corporations or large enterprise businesses; would we need customer service people? What if all we had were small businesses, perhaps with 10 employees or so?

A family could definitely use an administrative assistant, a mail room manager, even a public relations person. Would a family need a sales person? Yes, if the family were trying to sell fresh vegetables at a roadside booth.

One of the problems we have in our modern economy is that we have lots of people working in jobs that don’t actually produce anything real. Government employs a huge number of people, but how many of those employees could walk down to the local park and offer what they do each day to someone as a product?

Some jobs involve a trade in knowledge, so if you don’t want to spend years learning to fly a plane, you hire a pilot when you buy a plane ticket. You don’t have to buy a plane ticket, but if you choose to, you get a pilot as part of the price. Not everyone wants to spend their afternoons growing corn and processing wheat, so we hire farmers to do that for us. But what do we exchange with those farmers?

When you take a drive and visit a local farm, maybe to buy some cucumbers, do you think they’d be willing to exchange the cucumbers for whatever it is you do all day?

There’s coming a time when we’re going to have to deal with a reality check. We’ve been living on consumer debt and national debt for so long, we’ve forgotten what it’s like to live on a cash basis. When all this comes crashing down, jobs are going to get more and more scarce. Those jobs that do exist, will be the ones that fundamentally produce real products and services.

Take a look at what you do at the moment for a job. Then consider whether or not in a depression, you might be able to sell that to an individual or a family. It’s the same basic and fundamental principle in even large enterprises. If a company is bought out by a European business, would they want an American customer service rep?

Think about all the outsourcing going on, where someone in a foreign country can do the job just as well as anyone else. But now think about that farmer selling cucumbers. Do we outsource that work? Actually, when we hire illegal immigrants, then yes, I guess we do.



  1. Dear friend,

    Realy it is very useful post , Accept my sincere thanks and appreciation

    John Bill


    Jobs , companies , real estate , engineers , petroleum company

    Comment by John Bill — September 22, 2008 @ 5:41 pm | Reply

  2. I’m a graphic designer, which means I design packaging, web sites, advertising, user interface for software, and animated films. All for getting people to either use or buy something. But even so, there is quite a bit of outsourcing of graphic design these days. So in today’s economy, not even jobs that are creative are safe.

    Comment by bob — September 23, 2008 @ 1:09 pm | Reply

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