Hope you have already begun transforming your life in the New Year. It’s hard, I know, but every step in one step in a direction. Maybe it’s the right one.
I have been thinking about the state of the workforce. Some factors are fundamentally remaking how people, simply, make money and, more complexly, build careers. Some are positive; most are negative. Here are the most impactful trends:
- Companies are currently downsizing (or, as they more pleasantly say, rightsizing) and expelling employees from the salaried workforce. For some companies, this is second or third (or more) time they have dealt with this issue. They will be super careful with expansion in the future. New hiring will suffer.
- There is a narrative brewing – through the sharing economy – that this is how the modern worker prefers to live. Especially the damned Millennials that want the freedom to have a luxurious afternoon eating nothing but Avocado toast. The advertisements for companies like Task Rabbit and Fiverr paint a rosy picture of meaningful employment without the commitment. And it’s easy enough to ignore the many deeply researched articles that peel the layers off the fable to find something rotten underneath.
- Some people do love freelancing. If this pool of people exists and companies want to work with freelancers, then the marketplace will continue to crowd out those who would prefer the guarantee of full-time work.
- The robots. The only thing slowing that encroachment is legislation or empathy; our current construction of capitalistic society ruled by Republican interests does not bode well for the workforce.
In short, the number of people who are not traditionally employed by a corporation is increasing. Some do it by choice; some do it out of necessity. Historically, they’ve been called freelancers or the self-employed.
But the increasing pool of people who do not work full-time for one organization requires a different terminology: The Unconventionally Employed.
While your particular situation will differ from someone else’s, even if you are working “full-time” for another entity, you may soon be self-employed, confronting a whole host of new extraneous responsibilities.
Is this a problem? If the market dictates that there are more freelancers (willing or reluctant) but also more demand from the employers, then it’s not so bad, right? Well, as a somewhat reluctant freelancer, I can tell you that there is an imbalance and it doesn’t favor the worker.
If you’re starting a freelance career today, it requires a lot of use of muscles that likely have atrophied during your full-time employment. You have to keep up with the latest on legislation, healthcare, wellness, and many other issues that previously unnecessary to you or were handled by your employer.
Even if you’ve freelanced for awhile, there are new complications that will require practice and patience.
And you are often monomaniacally focused on the incredibly specific task of finding a steady stream of work. But there are larger, global issues that will impact your livelihood.
Unconventionally Employed wants to be the place that helps the newly freelancing/self-employed and the old pros alike. And for those of you who think an unconventional career may be in your future, it’s never too early to learn.
Initially, you can interact with the publication through this website, a newsletter, and social media. As we grow, we’ll expand to more places. This site is intended to be participatory. As we roll out some features, we’ll be helping you answer your most pressing questions.