My browser is overflowing tabs with various articles covering the transformation of ‘Work’ in contemporary times. I simply can not get enough of this discussion, and despite the different sources, these writings make up a vital dialogue about the future of ‘Work’. All our academic lives are spent in preparation for our entrance into the workforce; if there is a revolution going on regarding the employment sector, it’s high-time that education gets a thorough appraisal.
Couple of questions:
How relevant is today’s college education?
Are universities teaching employable skills? Or are they just pacing mechanisms so the job force can be refreshed in a cyclical fashion?
How can online-learning, Massive Open Online Courses and other cheap, digitally-empowered learning tools enable a young person to earn a living without a traditional degree?
Has technology completely rewritten the constructs of gainful employment?
Does telecommuting break the industrial-era confines of the 9-5 workday?
Can video-conferencing and real-time messaging FINALLY rid us of the excessive time-wasting corporate habit of Meetings?
Have the Millennials turned the corner on the traditional office with their adoption of freelancing? Or, is it more accurate to say that the Millennials are adapting to the weak global job market and growing consumerism by ‘going organic’, simplifying their lifestyles and hawking all skills available to make ends meet?
In attempt to find these answers or risk confusing you further, I share snippets from across the web:
Freelancing, contrary to popular belief, is not just restricted to stay-at-home parents and aspiring novelists; it is increasingly a deliberate part of many people’s work routine. Freelancing and it’s twin, Telecommuting, provide workers greater flexibility and varied projects without the limitation of geography.
With 83% of millennials claiming that freelancing is a cornerstone of their career strategy and the dramatic increase in funding of crowdsourcing-centric companies, could we be facing a 21st-century industrial revolution? A workforce shift this substantial has not been seen in 100 years and an Intuit report predicts 60 million people will be contingent workers by 2020. It’s clear that the future of work is changing.
Millennials are less concerned about job security or full-time employment, and more concerned about flexibility, adaptability and variety. They are leaving the full-time workforce to piece together a career path on their own.
When we combine that sentiment with the constant push in America for entrepreneurship, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that millennials are more free-thinking and independent than previous generations. The idea of climbing up a corporate ladder seems so alien since so many storied companies have ceased to exist in our lifetimes and the process seems so divergent from actually improving humanity.
It also helps that technology has brought down the costs of building our own companies and service organizations. Today, anyone – not just millennials – has this alternative option of simply ignoring everyone and going their own way. The stasis of the world has been replaced with technology-based flexibility powered by the cloud and mobile devices.
Empowerment has a price though. If ever there was a debate to be had in this country, it is that the great projects of our time still do take significant teams to build. Everyone can’t be a founder. While we have a cooperative and community-oriented spirit, that doesn’t necessarily translate into wanting to join someone else’s startup or nonprofit. Indeed, we probably want to start our own.
Shortening the work-week leads to more productive, engaged employees and a dramatic drop in absenteeism- Now is anyone really surprised about that?
“Better work gets done in four days than in five,” he [CEO Basecamp] writes. “When there’s less time to work, you waste less time. When you have a compressed workweek, you tend to focus on what’s important. Constraining time encourages quality time.”
The questions keep on coming – as do the observations as we keep pace with the rapid changes in tech and the workplace. As digital natives, will we be able to retain our hold on technology as a tool for completing tasks? Now that is a question for next time.