A Pictorial Representation of the Evolution of Work

Where we’ve been, where we are currently, and where we are heading as workers (pertinent to the United States in particular) as summarized in the image below. As indicated by the concluding remark, some things have a way of making a comeback. Emerging conditions necessitate and support people’s ability to act as free agents – this means cultivating a business mindset when it comes to your career. I’ll let this image tell the whole story. Continue reading

Freedom = Loyalty: Understanding the Self-Employed Mindset

Since the rise of the Industrial Age, the vast majority of the population have chosen to go with regular employment in order to make a living due to existing incentives (e.g., pensions, benefits, etc.). Since this trend has been the norm for quite some time, self-employment has become perceived as “the ugly stepchild” – something people turn to when they “can’t get a job.” It’s true that a good contingent of people are forced into this situation, however there are still many who purposely choose it. Are they crazy?

Often I’ve heard that those who prefer regular employment and those who prefer self-employment don’t understand each other. Indeed, it seems to be the case of different values, motivations, and fears. I believe this gap between those who have an employee mindset and those who have a self-employment mindset is encapsulated well by one of my favorite Aesop’s fables, “The Dog and the Wolf.” For those who are unfamiliar with this story, here it is in the video below: Continue reading

Living With or Leaving the 9-to-5 Lifestyle?

Many of you are already familiar with the living-for-the-weekend mindset and with how fleeting weekends seem to be. As soon as another weekend creeps up, it’ll soon be over and you’ll be dreading Monday all over again. For those who experience an intense level of anxiety and stress on Sunday nights, the following tips and coping strategies may be worth trying:

To those suggestions, I’d add: Try to keep the situation in perspective. Indeed, there are worse life situations to be in, and there are plenty of people out there who have it much worse. However, the question of whether you should focus on accepting the situation or trying to break free and create a work-life that you have more control over is a personal one. Some questions you can ask yourself to clarify if making a break for freedom is for you: Continue reading

Work-Life Detours: Reflections on Yahoo’s Remote Work Policy Change

English: Yahoo! headquarters

English: Yahoo! headquarters (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By now many of you have heard the news about Yahoo’s CEO, Marissa Mayer, requiring all remote workers, regardless of where they live, to become onsite office workers or else quit. Even those who telecommute one or two days a week will no longer be able to do so. If you haven’t heard about this, here’s the story in a nutshell: Continue reading

The Move Towards Self-Employment: A Big Picture & “Little Picture” View

Nowadays you don’t have to search very hard to find well-respected thinkers forecasting the decline of traditional employment and a corresponding rise in self-employment. Daniel Pink, author of Free Agent Nation: The Future of Working For Yourself, had been tracking the decreasing average “half-life” of organizations well before this book was published in 2001. During his time as former speechwriter for Al Gore, he was one of the first to see the information that the Bureau of Labor Statistics churned out on a weekly basis. The relationship between organizations and employees is changing thanks to technological advancement and, in particular, the Internet. Pink foresees a future in which a great proportion of the population will be working as contractors, getting together and working on one project, dispersing when the project ends, then getting together with a different group to work on another project in the fashion of film crews.  Here is Daniel Pink discussing this scenario in the following video: Continue reading