The Smell of Coffee in the Morning

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Published: 07th May 2014
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"Ground control to Major Tom!"... I really enjoyed the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by Ben Stiller. This was the scene where Mitty's colleagues mocked him with the David Bowie song as he stood transfixed at the coffee machine, staring after the girl of his dreams. He didn't snap out of this chronic habit of his until he was plunged into the frigid waters of Iceland, confronted by a shark. If that didn't wake him up nothing would. There's small difference between zoning-out and being lulled to sleep by the status quo if you end up being that deer caught frozen by the headlights. We live in an age of black swans and breath-taking change, and most of us have to run faster just to stay in the same place. Better get off those buns and smell the coffee. Otherwise, you may be falling into the trap of believing the crazy things happening right now is just a phase that will pass soon enough. The danger is this prevents you from acting and getting out of the way of that onrushing truck in the night!

In my time people were able to finish school without breaking the bank. Tuition at my old college is now more than 5 times what I paid for it 20 years ago. So what is that latest official rate of inflation again? 1.5% as of December 2013?...Right, there's a lovely bridge in my backyard I'd like to show you...Today, students have to go into massive debt just for a chance to earn that piece of paper. But what kind of a job market awaits these graduates armed with a hot-off-the-press degree and a dollop full of hope? The good productive jobs have for years been shipped away overseas along with the country's manufacturing strength. Youngsters would be grateful just to land a job making greasy fries at a fast food joint nowadays. You read about them every day, and to survive many move back with mom and dad because subsistence level pay simply doesn't go very far. This is the new reality and change you can take to the bank.

But even that serf-of-a-job might not be there very long, and it isn't because people are eating healthier either. Enter Baxter, the robot that can make that perfect hamburger every time, 24/7, no lunch or bathroom breaks required. How are you going to beat that? It costs around $25,000 each and will pay for itself in no time at all. What a technological breakthrough eh? Can't wait for the upgraded versions of Baxter to appear. They say by the year 2045 all jobs done by humans could be outsourced to robotic workers. Will it become utopia on earth and leisure for all when that golden day dawns? Food for thought.

In the meantime, since the meat and gravy jobs have mostly gone the way of the dinosaur, and the traditional economy made up of local businesses has all but dried up - what else is left out there? The answer I believe lies in cyberspace with E-commerce. This may well be that single ray of light still available to us. To be honest I am wrestling to get a better handle on this animal myself because I am a luddite by nature; there's no twitting whatsapps or camera functions on my ancient cell phone, but I suspect that too will change as I bow to the inevitable...eventually.

I have to confess I am fortunate because I'm still gainfully employed, but I can see the writing on the wall clearly. My work is meaningful and it pays the bills. Yet the trends are such that I'd be a fool if I didn't devise a plan B. The emerging picture isn't pretty as I see people being treated more like commodities than human beings, to be perfectly disposable to the whims of a corporate culture that eats its own. The greed on Wall Street has well and truly done Main Street in by now, but lo and behold the executive fat cats are put on pedestals for their fraud and rapacity instead of having the book thrown at them. Go figure.

Hence E-commerce provides the best opportunity for us to build a business and generate an income stream, so we are not shackled so tightly to that paycheck that our ankles chafe. Many online retailers and wholesalers have e-commerce and affiliate programs where commissions and passive income can be earned. This is the kind of business that doesn't cost an arm and a leg to set up. There's no shop space to rent, no inventory to stock up on, no burdensome overheads to be saddled with. Do your own research to discover what products and services appeal to you, so that you can begin promoting them on the internet. The company gains in sales and wider exposure to customers through your efforts, the customers get the products they are looking for, and you earn an additional income. It is a win-win-win proposition for all. It does take persistence and determination to be sure, and I have just recently embarked on this journey myself. Personally I am inspired by this plucky Irish guy called Niall as I follow his escapades around the world - all made possible by working online. The point is...it can be done if you have the grit! With hard work and a bit of luck we can quit running so madly in place and finally take a gentle stroll instead. The smell of coffee in the morning can be invigorating! And go watch the movie if you haven't seen it yet. It's funny and has stunning imagery of faraway places. The last roll of film negatives is processed for the last issue of Life Magazine, before it too boldly ventured into cyberspace.

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