Just a few short pages into Timothy Ferriss’ ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’, that ever so familiar question was right there in front of me…in black and white…
“So, what do you do?”
It’s a daunting question these days, and the answers that you find today are so very different than what one would have found ten, or even just five years ago. Given the current state of our economy, the response to this question is probably even more varied.
It is my full intention to review the book as I read it, offering analogous bramblings to a future of living and working in the sea. However, being stopped dead in my tracks on only page 6 with this question, I suppose its timely to address this very important piece of the puzzle.
To be honest, I personally don’t know how to answer that question with great accuracy. Most of what ‘I do’ involves being on or underwater for any number of reasons. Some of what I do people pay me to do, and other things that I do, I do for myself. I’m the furthest example of a 9 to 5’er that there is, and yet I survive, comfortably, and seem to be living the life that I am supposed to live.
Today,’what people do’ is becoming blurred with ‘who people are’. In the old days, it was more common to hang up your hat when you got home from the office, and that was it…work was over. Today, many people, even 9 to 5’ers, don’t hang up their hats – because they can’t. Can’t afford to that is. To stand out in any given industry or community, you have to take your work home with you to stay just one step ahead…and the world has evolved to make it all available right at our fingertips, and at all times of the day (or night). First were PDA’s, then laptops, then Blackberries, then iPhones, and who knows what’s next. The point is that our working world is seemlessly integrated into our routine day to day communications. We can be consulted on anything work related at any given time, and in any given place. For those that jumped on these capabilities early in the game, these new technologies and capabilities became the core part of how they function day to day, and their hard 4-walled office with a 3-walled cubicle became a 20th Century museum exhibit.
Because of our abilities to work with less physical interaction, a certain independence is emerging with what consumes our day to day. For example, I can just as easily write this Blog entry from my couch, the local coffee shop, my hammock in the woods, or while sipping a fruity drink under a palm tree somewhere (and yes, I have Blogged from all of these places). Part of my business has become embedded in my social life, and hence the merging of what we do and who we are has begun to take its course. ‘Lifestyle businesses’ are nearly more the norm than factory worker bees.
We are evolving into a world where free-agency and self-employment have become quite commonplace, and is continuing to evolve. While I don’t generally like to use the term ‘social enterprise’, as it may imply ‘socialism’ to some, free agency is creating an economy that will flourish with enterprising solutions in all business sectors. Communities, networks, cooperatives, and collaborations – all terms that were foreign from everyday lingo until the past decade, are now here to stay, and the days of capitalist empires are approaching an end. While working independently, yet cooperatively with peers and colleagues, there is more to gain by all parties, and it is relatively easy to create incentives for quality performance. Today, your survival depends on you and you alone. So, work hard, play hard. OK, slightly off topic, so subject for another session…
In any case, addressing the ‘What do you do’ here in this Blog…well, this Blog is about a changing world, and all aspects affected by it. Our health, our economy, our future – all elements of life that are amidst undeniable social, cultural, and political change. We (the world) are headed in a new direction, and I am of the opinion that the ocean will become a major factor in this new direction. So, ‘A New Life in the Sea’, is just that…a unique perspective on how the world is turning, how humans are evolving, and how the constant flux of ‘what we do’ is indeed shaping our world to support well, ‘A New Life in the Sea’.