Tuesday, June 2, 2009

All Your Eggs Belong to US

What is that old idiom, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket"? Meaning, I assume, that if you drop the one basket, you will lose all your eggs.

And yet millions of Americans are forced into doing this very thing. Besides the self employed, how many people have more than one job that can pay their monthly expenses?

Today I was listening to the GM executives make all their apologies leading up to the mass layoffs that are sure to continue as GM goes through bankruptcy proceedings.

And it occurred to me. Why are employees forced to put all their eggs in one basket? Couldn't an auto worker spend one week at a GM plant and the next week at a Ford plant?

People get bored of doing the same thing every day anyway. What if you could have two careers. What if you could be an Astronomer at the McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis for one week and the next week be a store manager at the McDonald's in Alpine. If either job evaporates, you will have the other one to fall back on while you patiently look for another.

Granted companies would have to hire and train twice as many people, but at about the same monthly rate. Instead of paying 1 person $100k/year they'd pay 2 people $50k/year. If done right, it would be less risk to the company. After all, they don't want to put too many eggs in one basket either. I can't tell you how many times one of my employers warned me about documentation in case I got hit by a bus.

Theoretically, it would help the economy because if we lived like this we'd never hit bottom. We'd possibly hit 50% for a spell, but it would be much more difficult to hit zero. As they say, "one is too close to none".


  1. I like your idea! Being trained in two areas would also be beneficial to the employee. I was reading The European Dream: How Europe's Vision of the Future is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream by Jeremy Rifkin, and wondered had GM been more responsive to society's needs and less concerned with profit would they still be going through bankruptcy? Maybe we need to change our motivation from personal wealth to personal happiness.

    About the bus thing, I suggest getting an understudy.

  2. Sorry but I don't think this is going to work. Most people's idea of personal happiness do not include working 2 jobs. Most likely the idea of personal happiness means not working at all!

  3. Hey J, Understudies can't keep up. I need to find better understudies. I might have to read that book.

    Ghost man. It's interesting you should say that. I've always thought that I'll never retire (from work). At some point I'd like to be able to take 3 or 4 month sabbaticals, but to actually quit working all together? I don't think so. I'd be bored silly. It would be nice not to have to worry about money though. I could work on something that I want to work on rather than something that pays the bills.