The 120% Solution

An excerpt from Jason Calacanis’ excellent email list (subscribe):

The 120% Solution
By Jason Calcanis

If we’re going to have any chance of bringing America back to greatness, we’re all going to have to work 20% more than we have been.

I’m suggesting that, until America takes care of its debt, untangles the housing mess and gets unemployment under control, we all commit to working six days a week. Yep, move the standard 35-40 hour work week right up to 48 hours.

For me and my team, this is a non-issue, since we only hire folks who are looking to absolutely kill it, love what they do and don’t consider it a job.

Of course, positions at a startup company, where stock options make for a great reward if we hit a home run, have certain advantages over normal day jobs. In the technology industry, a 48 hour work week would be, for most, a vacation.

It was our collective sloth, consumption and sense of entitlement that got us into this mess, and the only thing that will get us out of will be lots of hard work.

If you’ve got a good job, you should bust your butt to make your company as successful and profitable as possible. That way, salaries can increase, jobs can be created and your products and services become so world class, the phrase “Made in America” will come to mean something other than “not worth buying.”

If you’re working at a government job, you should be putting in extra hours to reduce government spending. Come in this weekend and make the government more efficient. (Yes, I just told a government worker to
come in on Saturday.)

If you’ve got credit card debt, pay it down if you can.

If you’ve got a mortgage, pay it off if you can.

If you work in the service industry, try to work 20% faster and come up with ideas to make your team more efficient. (Side note: I was in Japan recently and was amazed at the personal productivity of each individual when compared to the U.S. workers.)

If you’re a rich person looking to take a couple of years off, don’t. Instead, start a company that creates an amazingly innovative product that the world–not just the United States–needs. Set the goal of trying to employ 100 Americans.

Seriously, the affluent folks in this country should start businesses now. Drag your ass out of bed and try to make this country great again. It’s this country that made you affluent. Yeah, you’re rich and you don’t need to work, we know. Who cares? Your country needs you right now! Sell your second or third home and start a company!

If you’re affluent and you can’t start a company then angel invest in a bunch of smart, hard working folks at the very least.

If you’re a college student thinking of getting trashed this weekend, or taking a year off, don’t. Instead, take an extra class or two, do an internship at a company or get a graduate degree in Engineering.

If you’re in high school, go work at your parents office or start an online business. (You would be surprised at how many high school students email me every week to share with me their online businesses that make $2-3k a month.)

If you’re a lazy and bitter worker who has been screwed by the system, swallow your pride and stop trying to stick it to everyone. Double down and take pride in your work effort, even if your boss is a complete jerk.

If you’re the complete jerk of boss, check yourself and realize that the folks working for you need the job, and that if everyone doesn’t get their act together, we’re all going to be out of work. (This is directed specifically at the dysfunctional automakers and airlines, which seem to spend more effort fighting their customers and each other than they do taking on their global competitors!)

Everyone must step up, and we’ve got to do it now. I’ve been traveling around the world the past two years, and I can tell you that the work ethic, attitude and productivity of American workers–white and blue
collar–is half of what I’ve seen in countries like Japan, China, and Korea.

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