Everyone’s an Entrepreneur

Waiters at a Conference
In a world without jobs, how will people be employed? One possible answer was first proposed by Alan November at the Naace conference in 1999. In a Keynote Speech, he proposed that children of all abilities would need entrepreneurial skills in the future.

Photo of a waiter

His audience was sceptical. How could the waiters serving coffee at the conference be entrepreneurial? Surely these were just ‘jobs’? 

Alan replied by saying, “Yes, but the best way to get work is to be entrepreneurial”.

He pointed out that during the holiday and conference seasons, hotels need many waiting staff when they’re busy but very few when they’re not. Employing dozens of waiters when there are no conference delegates or holiday-makers does not make business sense. 

Become the Best You Can
So young people who wish to work in hotels should develop their public facing and catering skills and build their reputations so that they are sought out by the hotels whenever a conference is booked.

At the time, in 1999, automation in our factories was well under way but there was no hint that computers would ever be able to replace people in anything other than manufacturing. Zero hours contracts hadn’t yet appeared, and all thoughts were on what new types of job would be created to replace factory work - and would there be enough of them and would they be created in time to avoid mass unemployment?


William Bridges, and his forecast of a future in which jobs didn’t exist, was seen as just another of those futurologists and their ‘Pie-in-the-Sky’ ideas that no-one thought had any real substance.

Work, not Jobs
Now, almost twenty years later, it really does look as though ‘The Job’ might indeed become a thing of the past. But that isn’t to say that there’ll be no work. Without doubt, there will be a million tasks needing to be done, from the individual who needs their garden tended to the event promoter who needs a hundred security personnel for one night only. It’s just that the work won’t be regular, day in and day out, clocking in at nine and clocking out at five.

In a world like this, it’s the entrepreneurial person who will get  the work who will  get the work and earn the money.

But does this mean the coming of an underclass of people who, for whatever reason, aren’t getting the work and therefore have no money? How could the Benefits System support people with no jobs when there are no jobs? A radical re-think is needed.

The Universal Basic Income is a bold new idea which may just be part of the re-think that we need.


Next: The Universal Benefit



© Brian Smith 2015