The Industrial Age is Dead – Time is the New Money

The Industrial Age is Dead – Time is the New Money

As a business owner, you’re likely carrying a lot of baggage from the Industrial age (1800-ish to 1965-ish) that won’t fully go away for decades to come. He who makes the rules wins. You need to stop running your business on Industrial Age rules.

The Industrial Age brought us two incredibly bad ideas that led to many other bad ideas:

  1. Retirement
  2. Separation of work and play

A few weeks ago we said retirement is a bankrupt industrial age idea . Here we’re saying separation of work and play is a bad idea.

Time vs. Money
A young web designer friend of mine just one year out of college was given a huge pay raise by an ad agency, from $48,000 to $69,000. The company saw him as indispensable and didn’t want him going anywhere. A few months later, as winter approached, he quit. They wanted him there 8am-5pm and in the winter the only time to ride a bike was in the afternoon.

He would have worked in the evening, and that would have had no impact on the company, but they were stuck in the Industrial Age that valued money over time, and couldn’t see it. They were giving him the same tired “I’ll trade you money for your hours” deal that was dominant in the Industrial Age. He now runs his own very successful company and goes for a run or bike ride in the middle of the day any time he wants.

The Old (and Returning) Normal
For thousands of years people lived where they worked (over the storefront, on the farm) and played where they worked. Community was built around work and small markets. The kids ran and played, learned and worked there, the grandparents helped out – everyone was involved.

And there wasn’t much separation of work and play in the process. We look back and have a dreary and incorrect view of what life before “jobs” was like. What we miss is that above all else, we had community, something we’re only now beginning to recapture.

Humans as Extensions of Machines
It’s easy to see how this happened. During the Industrial Age, machines needed humans to become extensions of them in order to serve the machines properly. The machines needed people to be there all the time to run them, so we created humans in the image of machines. That “condition” was spread across all vocations, and “jobs” that separated work and play become the norm, even where there were no machines.

The Silent Generation – the worst label ever given
And it all worked in response to the needs of the machine, not the person. As the companies that owned the machines became huge, the pervasive need was to serve the corporation, and we were told to shut up, sit down, live invisibly, be loyal, don’t make waves and go out quietly. The generation which lived at the pinnacle of the Industrial Age, who are now in their late 70’s and early 80’s, have been labeled by marketers and sociologists as “The Silent Generation.” Can you think of a more condemning label? But it accurately reflects the damage the Industrial Age has done to us as a culture.

Time is The New Money
The Industrial Age taught us to value money above time. Giant Corporation, Inc. wanted you to focus on making money, not on having time to do anything with it. They needed all your time to run the machines. In the 21st Century we will understand that riches may equal money, but wealth equals freedom – the ability to choose what to do with my time. We will understand that money does not give us freedom, only time can do that.

Do you have time (wealth) or just money (riches)? Stop focusing on making money (see my book, Making Money Is Killing Your Business on the same subject), and intend to be wealthy instead. You’ll actually make more money and have a lot more fun in life, too.

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