Everywhere we turn these days, it seems, we see the effects of the sluggish economy. Turn on any network television newscast, pick up any newspaper, riffle through any issue of any of the news-weeklies--and you're bound to see some sort of economic bad news.

The most obvious effect, the one people read about and worry about the most? That's easy: loss of jobs.

In June 2001 there were 2081 mass layoff actions nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Each layoff involved at least 50 people from each establishment. The total number of workers involved was 250,359.

That's for one month.

I'd venture to say that everyone either knows someone who has lost their job--or has lost a job himself. In many cases, people are being let go after being with their respective employers for years. We all know what happened to Enron employees, and while that's the most highly publicized example, it's only one of dozens.

Welcome to the new reality: "job security" has become an oxymoron.

Stuck in Old Realities


In June 2001 there were 2081 mass layoff actions nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Each layoff involved at least 50 people from each establishment. The total number of workers involved was 250,359. That's for one month.

You know this, and I know this. The problem is, far too many people in today's workforce are stuck in the old paradigm: they still believe that once they find a good job, they'll be there for their entire working life--if they just do a good job.

This is not a minimum-wage or lower-bracket phenomenon. This paradigm exists through all income levels.

Here is a brutal reality of the global economy: if a company can find a more cost-effective way to produce their goods or services, they have to do it to stay competitive, regardless of how many people might lose their jobs. Companies are in business to provide goods and services and to do so at minimum cost and maximum profit. They are not in business to provide jobs to any particular group of people, or in any particular geographic location. But when a company makes a decision to close a plant or office or move certain operations to another city or country, they are frequently met with resistance from the affected employees.

Case in point: A few weeks ago, a company in my area decided to close a local plant after many years of operation. Some of the workers picketed in protest. A local news story interviewed two or three people who were third-generation employees at this company--their fathers and grandfathers had all worked there for over 30 years! These individuals had been with the company more than 20 years themselves, and expected to be there until retirement. These folks, through no fault of their own, have fallen victim to the old paradigm--they didn't know that job security is the new oxymoron.

There was nothing wrong with that way of thinking in its day. The idea of people staying in the same job their entire work life was beneficial to both the company and its employees. But those days are gone. Long-term mutual benefit no longer exists. Companies have begun to see that. Unfortunately most employees have not.

Most people think that their only option in life is to work for whomever is willing to hire them, even if it means working at a job or profession they don't necessarily like. Perhaps they don't think they're educated enough to improve their situation; or maybe, for some reason, they don't think they deserve any better. Maybe it's simply what their parents and grandparents did, so they do it, too. Whatever the reason, a lot of people have put themselves in the position of being completely dependent on their employers for their financial security.

And they've done so because they consciously or unconsciously think they have no other choice.

That's where you come in.

The New Paradigm of Financial Security

The truth is, there are other options available to people, but they aren't going to fall into their laps. It's time for people to begin thinking the way the companies they used to work for think. It's time for people to start thinking realistically about their long-term future.

Too many people live their lives paycheck to paycheck. Their idea of long-term planning is deciding what to do in those couple of months each year when they get that "extra" paycheck. People need to begin thinking beyond what they do now; they need to expand their vision, not only of what's possible for them but of what's necessary for their long-term financial security. They need to start actively looking for ways to create their own financial security--before they find themselves living from unemployment check to unemployment check.

You and I both know that network marketing offers them a new paradigm of financial security. You and I know it--but chances are, they don't. It's your job to tell them.

BOB FORD is a network marketer who lives in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.