alt text image of a statue of a calvaryman

The Cavalry Isn’t Coming

You’re on your own. The cavalry isn’t coming. No one is going to save you. Instead, you are going to have to save yourself.

Humans have lived on this planet for about three and a half million years, give or take. From the very beginning of our time here we’ve been responsible for taking care of ourselves. If you wanted to eat, you had to hunt and gather. If you wanted shelter, you had to carve it out of the earth with your bare hands. If you were going to survive–and thrive–it was up to you.

But we’ve lost our memory as to our responsibilities. Why did we lose our memories?

For a very short period starting some time in the middle 20th Century, a bargain was struck. You become an employee of the the Big Industrial Age Corporation, and in exchange for 47 years of your labor, you’d receive a decent wage, guaranteed health care, and a retirement. If you were in management, you might even get a nice plaque, a gold watch, and a retirement lunch.

But the world, as it is wont to do, changed. And those changes started to take a toll on the Big Industrial Age Corporations. Many of them had every intention of keeping the old bargain. They preferred the status quo. But at some point the bargain became too difficult to keep. Maybe it was 1980. Maybe it was the 1990’s. Some are still trying desperately to hold on.

A lot of people want to see that bargain transferred to the Federal Government. But a lot of smart people in smart countries have tried to make and keep those bargains and failed. More are failing still. That’s not a bet you can safely make either.

We are returning to the way things were for all of three and half million years, minus a short detour that we took towards the end of the Industrial Age. We’re now firmly at the jumping off point of the Disruptive Age. Industrial Age beliefs and behaviors no longer serve you. The beliefs and behaviors that allow you to succeed now look more like the beliefs and behaviors that worked before the Industrial Age bargain was struck.

The cavalry isn’t coming. Accept it and start saving yourself.

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  • Heleneclare

    I hear you that the cavalry is not around the bend and that relying on Social Security and Medicare to prop up our paltry or non-existent retirement savings for those of us Gen X and younger is not realistic. Heck, it’s not realistic for Baby Boomers either. We get that. (Although we could make an argument about how the Fed Reserve is currently propping up the floor so that we don’t fall entirely into the abyss, but that is a separate topic).

    The only issue that I have with your thesis is that in previous ages where starvation was the reality if we didn’t toil relentlessly is that life expectancy was not quite as high as it is now.

    For Gen X, I guess the question is: how will people work into their 70’s? Will we be healthy enough, and will anyone employ us?

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      You ask good questions! : )

  • James

    Great article, completely agree. You’ve gotta look after number one – no company or government can take care of you. I like to think of myself as a start-up business and my employer as my customer.

    I think the next logical argument is that the best way to look after yourself is to look after other people. Do a good job for your customers, create value for them and claim a percentage of the value you create. Everyone wins.

    Just one annoyingly minor criticism: Humans have been around for 3.5 million years?? That was news to me. My understanding is that the species homo sapiens is about 200-250 thousand years old. I learned that on Wikipedia:

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      The business of YOU. I love it, James.

      My second post on this is going to be about community, but you’re right, it comes down to creating value.

      We can stick with Wikipedia: (maybe 2.5M to 3.9M years sort of standing upright).

  • Jacques Werth

    Not only are the Cavalry not coming, but they wouldn’t know what to do if they showed up.

    The biggest problem for most people, especially salespeople, is their insistence on working hard at trying to improve obsolete systems.

    It’s time for us to learn new strategies and tactics suitable for now and the future.