Why you will never be successful (Hint: it’s demographics)

It is all too familiar for all of us that work in corporate world. Career stagnation, underemployment and retrenchment come for you and people about same age as you. How come Baby Boomer have it so easy but for us, Gen-Y and Gen-Z, everything are screwed?

We can explain this thing by demographic trend. Currently what we have is something like this:

People born in 1950s                                              X

People born in 1960s                                         X        X

People born in 1970s                                     X       X        X

People born in 1980s                                         X        X

People born in 1990s                                              X

As you can see, during 1980s, there is fertility drop and most people have less children. This can be attributed to several things, like global urbanization, female joining workforce and hence having less children, wage stagnation and resource constraint.

However, as all of you know that ALL organizations are on the form of pyramid structure. For corporations, it will be similar to this figure:

CEO                                                                            X

Vice President                                                     X      X

Directors                                                            X     X     X

Managers                                                       X     X     X     X

Executives                                                  X     X     X     X     X

You know what this means? Ideally, when there is no demographic decline, there will be continuous expansion of companies because population keep increasing and hence it will generate demand for education, property, leisure and so on.

Even if you screw it in your career, it will be easy set up your own business and find someone which is younger than you and need a job because the number of older people is larger than number of younger people.

Those that works in big companies, they can take their time knowing that they are guaranteed promotion even with just moderate performance since companies will continue to have increasing demand and need to keep hiring junior staffs. Hence,

  • ALL people who worked for 2-3 years can promote from Executives to Managers
  • ALL people who worked for 3-6 years can promote from Managers to Directors
  • ALL people who worked for 6-10 years can promote from Directors to VPs

Now, when demographic is declining, there will be less demand for childcare, education, and property. As the result, companies’ sales will stagnant or even decrease and they will start to use all those nonsensical KPIs to retrench underperformed staffs.

Then, during demographic decline and stagnant revenue, the employment pattern will be similar like this:

  • ALL but one people who worked as Executives for 2-3 years will be retrenched and replaced with younger executives. One will be promoted as Manager.
  • ALL but one people who worked as Managers for 3-6 years will be retrenched and replaced with younger managers. One will be promoted as Director.
  • ALL but one people who worked as Directors for 6-10 years will be retrenched and replaced with younger directors. One will be promoted as Vice President

So, the only way to survive from this continuous staff trimming, if you want to work in big companies is to forsake all your free time including fellowship time with your fellow church members, family, and relatives, your leisure time and even your eating and sleeping time.

Even so, it will not guarantee success if there are exists people who are equally dedicated and talented like you pursuing the same thing. Journalists in mainstream media always tell you about success stories of the winner. But there can be only one CEO. Most of us will end as loser (if you define your success as becoming CEO of large organization).

The only realistic way to prevent disaster is to have large portion of population to invest in children and nature. Demographic decline is caused by resource constraint and hence we need to cultivate agriculture so that we have enough food for sustaining large population.

Also, it is better to avoid big cities because of horrible competition and working condition. The living cost in big cities can be 4 to 5 times more compared to smaller cities.

Such actions are more realistic than to suggest people to spend continuous 60-70 hours per week to advance their career (but it does not guarantee them even pay increase!)

 

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About edwin2026

I am currently Indonesian expatriate working in Singapore, graduated from Nanyang Technological University with major in Computer Science in 2009. I am also working as software engineer, developing and maintaining systems for Singapore civil service. I write this blog to share to readers about my life principle on various aspects, like religion, politics, business, relationship, and technology. I am interested in alternative worldviews because I found that many things taught to us by establishments are not true and harmful. My dream is to become self-sufficient in food and energy. Hopefully, someday I can have my own fruit garden and my own power plant and able to sell my electricity to power company. I hope readers enjoy my blog.
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