Moderate risk/moderate gains model

Yesterday, I showed that the career, an all-or-nothing model, amounts to high-stakes gambling. Either you get and secure the $100,000-200,000/year position, or you do not. If you do secure the position, you fear losing it, fear being sick, fear being unable to pay off your debts, and so work yourself/are worked to the bone, thereby realizing many of your fears. If you don’t, then you’re not sure what you can do otherwise and you’re incentivized to up the ante (relocate, hustle, etc.) and gamble again. Either way, the house wins.

The alternative is a minimal risk/moderate gains model. In lieu of accruing massive amounts of debt, you may have a small initial outlay. Instead of spending 4-20 years following a certain educational path, you can set up shop tomorrow. And in lieu of becoming credentialized/legitimized/sufficiently specialized in some niche, you can learn a certain craft or two, a craft that has broader range and greater applicability.

The key would be to build a base of clients, customers, or partners over time, with no one paying in very much, no win very large, and no loss very large either. A good example would be someone who rents out his small guest house or cottage as a bed and breakfast. Another would have been a country doctor who practices in a small community at a time before it took years to learn the craft. A third would be someone who apprentices in body work, then sets up his own business later on.

This is how, three years ago, I got out of the dead-end academic career; it’s also how my philosophy practice has grown steadily and mindfully over time. It’s an old-fashioned model that, in view of the economic collapse we’re facing, remains ‘ever green.’

Further Reading

Andrew Taggart, ‘Rules of Thumb for Starting a Way of Life Business’