We all have to work – well, most of us, anyway. But the way that we work is changing. The internet is changing the way that we interact with the workplace, and where we chose to work from, even across national borders. Human ingenuity is also reshaping how we work, and who we can work for.
In the days before the Industrial Revolution we were mostly all small businesses or freelancers, with relatively few people employed by governments or large agencies. Often companies were formed specifically to complete a purpose, such as a voyage of exploration, and then disbanded. Employment contracts were far less common than they are today.
Perhaps this older model of employment – one where each person runs their own personal small business – is the more natural mode of employment? Perhaps our education system – which gears students to become employees – is wrong? Maybe we are better off taking care of our own needs, rather than expecting our employer to do that for us?
I don’t know the answer to these questions, but its a topic that fascinates me. As someone who has worked as a freelancer for the past 10 years, I have enjoyed a huge amount of freedom, and a fair dose of frustration. But I’m in no rush to re-enter the ranks of full-time employment. And it seems that the ranks of those who feel the same way I do are swelling.
In these two articles for BRW I had the chance to investigate the changing nature of work. The first – click here – looks at what it means to be an employee. The second – click here – looks at the increasing trend of workers taking control of their own destiny.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.