According to a January, 27, 2014 article in The New Yorker,a 2008 Harvard Business School survey of professionals found that 94 percent of them worked fifty hours or more a week, and almost half worked in excess of sixty-five hours a week. American professionals are being worked to death. The work-related chronic fatigue and sleep-deprivation are driving the epidemic in depression, anxiety, and immune system deficiencies.
Short-term profit-driven corporations know that it is cheaper to work one person 100 hours than to pay 2 people to work 50 hours each, especially when a professional’s time is billed by the hour. American professionals have allowed their short-term profit-driven corporate cultures to dictate a social norm that frames their overwork, even to the point of death, as “dedication” and “commitment”. Because of the automation-driven global workforce glut, don’t look for American companies to willingly change their work-to-death cultures anytime soon. So what is the professional who prefers not to die for their paycheck to do? Many are saying “See ya” to their corporate death trap and starting their own business.
According to a recent article in Forbes, every month more than 2 million Americans are voluntarily leaving their jobs, and 32 percent of those remaining in their jobs are looking for a better one. Women in particular are leaving so they can start their own business. A compelling factor is that it is faster, easier, and cheaper to start a business than ever before, which tremendously mitigates risk. The startup trend is not only affecting employed professionals. Being your own boss has a growing appeal to new college graduates, of which 20 percent say want to start their own business.
What does the entrepreneurship pull on American’s workforce mean for American corporations? Business Insider reports that 40 percent of the American workforce is expected to be self-employed by 2020. Those who have the best business skills will succeed, and consequently won’t be returning to the corporate labor pool. This will prompt American corporations to continue outsourcing where they can. Where they can’t, they’ll have to figure out how to make do with a lower-skilled labor force, or they’ll have to create a working environment that won’t repel the best and brightest by working them to death.