Listen to/Watch entire show:
Special for Labor Day, 2009
Today is Labor Day, intended as a holiday of rest for working folks, and a celebration of labor itself. It's a quaint relic from a crazy time when Americans thought of work as a good thing. No kidding, they really did. For a while, they thought there was some kind of human dignity and even spiritual reward to be derived from road building, tractor driving, or pipe fitting. You can read about this brief romantic period in a history book...some people claim it accounts for our early success.
Recently, however, Americans have gone back to the general civilizational norm of celebrating people who have figured out how not to work. You know, people who own instead of do, who trade instead of toil, who never get their hands dirty, or who, at the very most, reap big rewards from the internet while sitting home in their pajamas... $20,000 a month for a few clicks, here and there.
Why, last month Pete Ferguson of Canton, Ohio, increased his earnings 600% in 30 days.
During the election, when we heard, ad nauseum, about "Joe the Plumber," it wasn't because he was a plumber, but because he didn't want to be a plumber — and pretty soon he wasn't. Pretty soon he was another talking head pulling down the big bucks.
Recently, I met with a business consultant to see how the Urban Man could make more money. And of course, the first thing the consultant did was shake her head over the fact that I do still occasionally work. "You've got to give up that habit," she said. "It's such a waste of time. You've got to focus on monetizing your passions, accessing your network, leveraging emerging concepts, and getting way more followers on Twitter."
She urged me to develop a list of Five Urban Secrets for Success, then promote my list through viral marketing.
"But I don't know any Secrets for Success," I replied. "That's why I'm here."
"Nonsense," she said, "Sit for an hour in a quiet place and they'll come. Just remember: Four is too few, and six is too many."
And damn if she wasn't right. The other night I sat down by myself with a paper, a pen and a glass of Scotch, and pretty soon I did come up with Five Urban Secrets for Success. Soon you'll be hearing a lot about these paradigm-busting approaches on Facebook and Delicious and Digg. Soon friends you never knew will be forwarding you links to the YouTube promo, where I speak cheerfully in front of a potted plant. Soon you too will receive an enormously long email with the subject line, "Secrets of the Urban Man." At the end of each paragraph, it will really seem like I'm just about to reveal the actual secrets. This will keep you reading and reading and before you know it, your Visa Card will have been charged $19.95.
And lo, from that moment, you will no longer have to work...and neither will I. In fact, just because you're my very special friends, I will now reveal an extra bonus secret, right here and now for Labor Day.
Do you have a pencil handy?
"Here it is: The goal of your life should be to Transcend Your Labor. Stop wasting your time building roads or driving tractors or fitting pipes or for that matter lawyering or doctoring. Instead, establish a market for road futures, trade in farm derivatives and leverage piping ventures. Create blogs and go on lecture tours about lawyering and doctoring. Shoot footage of farmers and pipe-fitters. Become an expert witness on pipe-fitting. If you do it right, you can retire young. And don't worry...Somebody out there will step up and do the actual work. Someone will fix the bridges and grow the food and seek justice and care for the sick. The Urban Man is certain that somehow, it will still get done.
Copyright © 2008 Marc Porter Zasada. All Rights Reserved.
Engage & Discuss
BROUGHT TO YOU BY