Reviewing the Haddow Report earlier this year, I was surprised to see “in print” that staff positions have for the most part ceased to exist in most companies. This has become somewhat obvious without our collective willingness to acknowledge it. Possibly, it was the economic devastation at the end of the 20th Century and the “dot.bomb” that left many of us hoping for a return to what we viewed as normal. But, normal never came. I doubt if it ever will. It seems that we had the technology but had not seen a need to employ it to the extent that we do today in our everyday business. My, how times have changed.

We anticipate that this trend will only progress further providing salaried employment only in fields such as logistics and manufacturing with even these being vulnerable to the steady trend of transference from human-to-machine. Certainly, professional positions in architecture and engineering, education, healthcare, hotels and hospitality and utilities will continue to exist but these are requiring higher educational standards and, resultingly, a greater commitment of time and effort than in the past. We have seen this most obviously demonstrated in the need for having a graduate degree, a simple college degree being no longer adequate to attest to our worthiness for a steady paycheck.

This leaves a huge void in the area of what has long been referred to as supplemental family income or, where there was traditionally a primary wage earner, the income required to bridge that gap during child raising and to allow for the goal of retirement. Simple secretarial skills have lost their economic importance.

We have seen a shift to single task employment, outsourcing tasks like the printing, binding and production of materials to facilities equipped to do this for us.

This requires a tremendous amount of creativity to adapt our natural gifts and abilities to a world of seemingly limitless opportunity – assuming that we are willing to adapt our economic expectations accordingly. This requires once again an ability to think, creatively.

A still greater potential should lie in our willingness to recognize and employ the gifts of others to complement and supplement our own efforts.

We see a feeble attempt at this in the world on “networking” because, with this, comes very limited accountability. “I see that you know Matt on Linkedin.” This is little more than an attempt to exist off of relationship sharing, without a share in the long term consequences of a referral. This is a weak sister to forging formal alliances in an integrated business model which allows no means of escaping the blame for the poor performance of our counterpart.

We apply this principle of accountability in what we refer to as a tribe or team. There are other relationships that go beyond this that are a bit less formal. But, I must emphasize that we believe that any relationship requires monitoring for the sake of safeguarding our corporate integrity.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: if either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Call it a tribe, a team, a partnership, whatever, the concept of community, corporate effort is as ancient as civilization itself. There is something holy about this ingredient of life that we have so cheapened that it is beyond our comprehension as to how far from its pure essence we have wandered.

Just because we put a name on it, so that it can be differentiated from others and it generates relatively consistent revenue to support salaries and other costs associated with it operations, does not mean that we have put a cap rate on it and sell it. There are people involved who own a part of what that company is. It is their work that has helped to make it what it is. In some cases, these folks are long gone, dead and buried. They deserve more than to have their heritage sold off, often accompanied by a name change whereby all recognition of their past endeavors disappears, buried in some dusty archive, never to see the light of day again.

Corporations should exist to produce goods and services for the community and provide employment in which workers and utilize their gifts, their skills to best of their abilities.

If you have read my previous writings on gifts, you understand that I believe that the substance of civilization is fundamentally the utilization of the excess that is derived from our work in exchange for the excess produced by others. Hostile forces attempt to steal this excess without making any effort at providing a meaningful contribution of their own. As with other fundamental principles of civilization, I don’t know that these hostiles understand that they are doing this. It seems that, as with these corporate raiders, these parasites ransack civilization like mobs in a riot, breaking out windows and stealing whatever they can get their hands on with a perceived justification born out of the fact that everyone else is doing it.

We will not.

There must be other ways to provide for our needs without having to burn the ship as part of our exit strategy.