Our work is changing. More working from home. More flexible schedules. Hopefully more innovation, sustainability and creativity, since the US sure is not going to be manufacturing much in the future.
The American economy has embraced this change, but really more from the employer point of view, throwing the balance out of whack. You get fired real quick, with no leverage, millions of people locked to their jobs, to their health insurance.
A lot of people still make the leap, either forced to as parents (mostly mothers) or scraping by in a bad job market … or just gutsy and driven and willing to take risks. Bravo to them. But think how many more people could take a leap, escape the cubicle, change the world, if we get health care reform in the US.
I moved to Sweden the first time in 2004, leaving a good job that I had burned out on for various reasons. I had pondered freelancing before, but with two reconstructed knees and a decade of sinus troubles behind me, just could not go without health insurance. Then I fell in love with a Swede, and, honestly, I would have moved health care or not, but the universal health care in Sweden eliminated a risk, a worry. It encouraged me – ever so little, but still – to follow my heart.
Now Sweden is not a hotbed of risk-taking entrepreneurs, even with the best safety net in the world. But there are other cultural reasons for that. I think Americans who come to Sweden are in the perfect place – they recognize the opportunity of the safety net, and they are, well, American enough to go out on their own. (note to employer – I am not quitting my job)
Just think if everyone in America had the security to take more risks, even if they have, say, a daughter with serious milk and egg allergies. Could be pretty cool. But, more practically, it will be better for everyone if the US can compete in a globalized economy.