On Tuesday 1st October, 2013 following a disagreement between Republicans on the one hand and Democrats on the other, there is presently the unimaginable – the US government shut down!
Republicans in the US Congress insisting that any new spending bill include provisions to either defund, derail or otherwise chip away at Obamacare while the Democrats are insisting it mustn't be.
This stale-ment has now led to the Congress not passing spending bills that fund the government and so, most functions of government – from funding agencies to paying out small business loans and processing passport requests – have now grind to a halt!
However, though it is being referred to as the “US Government Shutdown” the fact is that those who are principally affected are those referred to as “non-essential” workers. While these ones (about 800,000 out of the 3.3 million government employees) will be out of work and without pay, other “essential” government workers will continue working.
Most surprising however, is that while these “non-essential” employees go home without pay, the President, the House and Senate members will not be affected by the shutdown as they will continue to draw their pay checks!
It’s indeed a surprising thing for many that this is happening to the biggest economy of our time because beyond this disagreement about spending there's also the issue of the debt ceiling. With the U.S. on the verge of maxing out its $16.699 trillion credit we know that more is yet to come. And so, we will need to look into our crystal ball right now in order to pick up a few lessons that can help us.
For me, here are a few lessons that come out plainly from the shutdown
1. J.O.B. Security Is a Myth!
It's really funny but the biggest lesson I can learn from this government shutdown is the fact that there is nothing like JOB security. Of course, many believe that government jobs are safe and securing such an employment is securing ones future. But we can see right through this shutdown that this is simply a myth. Government jobs, and any other job for that matter, are not safe!
2. You Are Not Secure If Your Future Is Dependent On the Actions of Other
This is another plain truth from this government shut down.
In the recent past few years there have been a whole lot of bickering around the world as a result of the economic downturn that befell many countries. We saw how the masses rose up against their governments in various countries in mass protest not quite long ago. All of these are plain facts that the government is not the solution. You must be ready to take your destiny in your own hands.
3. You Need Your Own Business
I think this is obvious. Knowing that there is no J.O.B. security (even in government employment) and because you cannot hinge your future in the actions of some government official, becoming an entrepreneur and starting your own business is the best option. You can start small. Even if you are in government employment right now you can have a side business.
The internet has opened a whole lot of opportunity to all of us. There are various business ideas you can pick on today and build your own online business around. But remember, building a business is unlike a government employment where you are guaranteed a pay check each and every month. Building your own business demands specific skills and entrepreneurial traits like hard work, honesty, perseverance, focus, vision, etc. Start early enough and you will not be afraid when the rainy days come!
4. Whatever You Do Make Yourself “Essential!”
Now, let's face it. What you are doing right now, how essential is it? Are you running a business blog like this one or is your online business model that of providing services for other businesses like B2B content writing services? Are your blog or business services really that “essential” that even if there is a “shut down” today you will be protected? How productive are your activities, can they guide against a shutdown?
It is definitely clear that the world demands more than just being a “noise” in the marketplace these days. The only way to stand out so you can beat any form of “shutdown” is to be a “voice”, like what you have in the Congress and many other “essential” government jobs who, despite this unpleasant situation, will continue to receive their pay!
Build your own business but in doing so make sure you make it “essential!”
5. Bullet-Proof Your Business That It Will Continue To Be Relevant Even When There Is A Shut Down!
It is pertinent that what is happening right now will soon begin to affect some businesses even though they are not government agencies. This means therefore that when you start your own business you must establish systems that will ensure that no matter what happens in our unpredictable economic environment, your business will continue to run.
If your business is online, there are few things you can do. For example, investing in a system that will continue to drive targeted traffic to your business sites no matter what is happening (SEO optimized web content) can help. Even when money is in short supply to invest in more business activities, your marketing content ranking high in the search engines will continue to drive traffic to your sites for years to come. Such content will help your brand build a solid reputation, generate leads, drive a flood of website traffic, and also save your business even when there is a shutdown!
Over to You: Has the government shutdown affected you in any way? How about some unforeseen event forcing a shutdown of your business operations, can your business survive it? Share your thoughts with us in your comments below.