The world we live in, or better, the world of work that we inhabit has shifted. The shift is a seismic one, but not everyone’s been affected by it, yet. For those of us that have embraced this “new way,” we’re a step ahead and building our portfolio with each subsequent day spent scrambling and with each new project completed.
For more than a decade, I’ve been moving away from an outdated model of employment. This model promised job security, decent wages, and even benefits like health insurance, and other perks. If you still have an employer like that, count yourself lucky for now, but I am apt to refer to you as one of the “dinosaurs.” You’re fortunate in some ways, at least in the short-term because you have something that free agents and independent contractors don’t have—some measure of security, once again, in the short-term.
The day of reckoning is coming for most when they’re going to have nothing more than their toolkit of skills and little else. They’re going to have to make their own way, figuring out a new way to bring income in and keep roofs over their heads. It’s not easy, but that’s the reality for me and many others just like me. It forces creativity upon you in order to survive.
In my current state, I have 20 hours of income guaranteed; I say “guaranteed” because it’s only certain through the end of the year. On top of that the tasks at hand would be taxing for someone working 40 hours, let alone the 20 I’ve signed on for and am being compensated for. These 20 hours come without health insurance and the privilege of being whacked additionally for being self-employed. I am forced to scramble for what I need to live beyond that 20 doing a variety of other things–consulting, teaching, writing for pay, etc. Welcome to the 21st century world of work, Virginia!
My story is offered, not as an excuse to complain, but in fact, it’s offered me an opportunity to learn, gain new skills, enhance old ones, and build a wider network—these are the new perks of free agency. I’m also attempting to illustrate to all you dinosaurs that the handwriting’s on the wall and it’s time you took note of it and began making some preparation for the future. The employer that’s keeping you well-paid and stuck in a rut will someday kick you to the curb.
I’ve been there gotten past it and come out the other side, better for the experience. Life kicks you in the teeth from time to time. The true measure of your character is how you roll with adversity. It also determines your success on the other side of transition.