There are a lot of thriving factories in the United States. Just not as many as there used to be. And fewer new ones are starting up each year.
If you’re an uneducated factory working whose specialized skills are limited, you can do one of three things. 1) Delay the reckoning by moving away from the dead city/town you’re in, 2) give up, or 3) adapt. (By earning less than you used to, by getting more education, by training in a specialized area that can’t be outsourced to a cheap labor country.)
There are still a lot of thriving magazines in the English-speaking world and there are still a fair number of thriving newspapers. Just not as many as there used to be. And fewer new ones are starting up each year.
If you’re a generalist freelance travel writer who has always written for newspapers and magazines, you can do one of three things. 1) Delay the reckoning by lowering your cost of living or working twice as hard, 2) give up, or 3) adapt. (By earning less than you used to, by specializing in a niche that’s underserved, or by taking control of your income by owning a business instead of being a pen for hire.)
There are still factory workers pulling in upper middle class salaries. But they’re working for a new kind of employer—probably technical or specialized—or they have an ownership stake in the company.
There are more travel writers now making an upper middle class salary than there have ever been. But now most of them are running their own personal publishing enterprise, paying less and less attention to the old gatekeepers in those fancy New York or London offices.
In both the factory and the freelance world, simply being a cog in the production line used to pay off. Now trying to do the job that lots of other people can do for less means dying a slow financial death.
[Flickr photo by Sean Marshall]