Opinion

Dude, you killed your job

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Patrick Chisholm
Writer/Editor, PolicyDynamics.Org
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      Patrick Chisholm

      Patrick D. Chisholm is a writer/editor whose articles have appeared in numerous publications including The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Baltimore Sun, Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle, National Review, and South China Morning Post. From 2002 through 2006 he was an opinion columnist for The Christian Science Monitor. He is creative director of <a href="http://www.accentance.com/">Accentance, Inc.</a>, a video production company in Chantilly, Virginia, and runs the website <a href="http://policydynamics.org/">PolicyDynamics.Org</a> which includes articles, a blog, and VideoViews. Prior to founding Accentance in 2001 he was managing editor at KCI Communications (a financial publishing company), a staff writer at International Executive Reports, and a foreign affairs analyst in the State Department's Office of Mexican Affairs. He graduated from American University’s School of International Service with an M.A. in international affairs/international economics, and from Colorado College with a B.A. in history.

“Dude, where’s my job?” is one of the slogans one finds scrawled on signs held by disheveled young protesters at Occupy events.

Dude, have you ever thought about what it takes to give you a job? Nah, I’m sure not. If you had, you wouldn’t be out there with the Occupy folks demonizing the top 1 percent — the people who create most of the jobs. More likely you’d be hanging out with the tea party folks.

You think a job is some sort of entitlement — like it should just be there for you. But you’ve got to realize that a real person has to bust his butt in order to create that job.

When you say, “Dude, where’s my job?” what you’re really saying is, “Dude, put your financial and emotional well-being on the line by quitting your day job and hanging out a shingle. Be smart and diligent enough to come up with a good product, and hope that you can sell enough of that product to have enough revenue to hire and pay me.”

Most people would never in a million years go through all the B.S. involved in starting a business and creating a job.

Few people have the guts to start a business, the smarts to come up with a promising product, the doggedness to stick with it and the stomach to put up with all the slings and arrows that get thrown up along the way. Most start-ups — four out of five — fail within five years.

Running a business is not for the faint of heart. Consider what folks have to go through in order to generate a job:

  • By quitting their day jobs, they give up their health insurance and other perks (unless they’re lucky enough to have insurance through their spouse).
  • They have to get myriad permits and licenses from federal, state and local governments, and pay all the associated fees.
  • They have to use up their personal savings in order to fund the start-up costs. Maybe they get a loan, but then they have to worry about whether they’ll sell enough products to pay the loan back.
  • They fret about bringing in enough revenue to pay their office rent each month.
  • They have to buy advertising and figure out the best way to market their products.
  • They have to get good at accounting and managing.
  • They have to put in ungodly hours.
  • Once they start hiring employees, they have to ensure the employees are generating more money for the company than they’re being paid. And that’s by no means a given.
  • One of the toughest things is making sure there’s money available to pay employees regularly. The trouble is, business owners often don’t get paid regularly. Clients can take their sweet time in paying — maybe two or three months too late, and sometimes not at all. Often owners have to sacrifice their own pay in order to pay employees. Or they have to go into debt — with no guarantee that the money to pay the loan off will ever arrive. What a sweet deal for the employees: just show up, do the work and get a steady paycheck. Not so for the business owner.
  • A particular minefield is taking out employees’ payroll taxes each pay cycle, setting aside that money in a separate account and regularly paying it to the federal and state government. It’s easy to mess that up. And when it does get messed up, the IRS comes down on you hard, with huge penalties and fines.
  • There’s always a worry about getting sued by an employee for one reason or another.

You demand jobs, jobs, jobs, but have no idea about the work, smarts, risk, sweat, financial hardship, emotional hardship and liability exposure that goes into creating a single job.

You vote in politicians like Obama and Pelosi and Reid, who overload business owners with taxes and fees and regulations and paperwork and fines and health insurance mandates and other disincentives to starting businesses and hiring employees. The end result is millions of jobs that never materialize, one of which may have been yours.

You vilify the biggest job creators — those who had enough smarts and stamina to build a company that employs hundreds or thousands of people, and who land in the top 1 percent. At the same time, you demand they give you a job. Now that’s gall.

Dude, if you really want a job, then run away from the Occupy protests as fast as you can, show a little respect for the people who create most of the nation’s jobs and throw your support behind leaders who want government to get out of the way.

Patrick D. Chisholm is founder and creative director of Accentance, Inc. and blogs at PolicyDynamics.org.