“Without work, all life goes rotten. But when work is soulless, life stifles and dies.” – Albert Camus
Have you noticed the changing trend happening in our work lives?
It’s a transition related to ‘why’ and ‘how’ we work.
People are getting restless and starting to question the status quo. They’re looking for options beyond the 9-5.
Take a look at Gallup Daily’s survey on work engagement and you’ll see why this shift is happening.
At the time I’m writing this only 32% of the U.S. population is engaged at work.
When 70% of people aren’t even interested in their work, let alone passionate and inspired by it, it reveals to me that we’re clearly not using our gifts and strengths enough in the work place.
The good news is, if you feel out of touch and disconnected from your work you can do something about it.
There’s no better time than now
“To find out what one is fitted to do, and to secure an opportunity to do it, is the key to happiness.” – John Dewey
If you want work that provides a sense of significance it’s out there. If you want more autonomy and freedom you can create a system where you have greater control of your time.
Success Magazine dubbed this reformation the YouEconomy, and points out that more people are, “living the way they want, doing the things they want and making as much money as they want in the bargain.”
Similar labels include the “gig” economy or “sharing” economy.
Whatever you want to call this trend, there’s a growing demographic of freelancers, contract workers, and part-time entrepreneurs.
Normal everyday people are leveraging technology and new business models to create opportunities to live a different lifestyle.
The article goes on to say, “According to the Burson-Marsteller study, one-third of YouEconomy participants—some 14.4 million people—are making more than 40 percent of their income through YouEconomy endeavors. Nearly 30 million other Americans are supplementing their primary income in this way.”
More and more people are creating a livelihood beyond the cubicle.
The New Revolution of Work
“By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day.” – Robert Frost
People are noticing and taking advantage of new possibilities. The old linear path of success where we dedicate our life to one company, try to get promoted, save as much money as possible, and retire at 65, is becoming a relic of the past.
Bryan Franklin and Michael Ellsberg point out in their book The Last Safe Investment, that the old American Dream is “…simply out of reach for most young people today, who wince at the pitiful starting salaries being offered to them in entry levels jobs, and who may not even pay off their student debt until their thirties.”
Whether you like it or not, you’re no longer guaranteed long-term job security.
A futurist named Simon Frey predicts that over 2 billion jobs will disappear by 2030 – Essentially claiming that nearly 50% of current jobs won’t exist in the next 15 years.
Plus corporations are lessening their reliance on full-time workers, and increasing the utilization of part-time and contract workers, for cost-saving reasons.
You might want to consider what this means for your job in the next decade.
There is good news within all of this occupational disruption however. Because with change comes new opportunity.
The opportunity to create a lifestyle that lends itself to following your dreams is out there.
If you’re willing to play a new game, you can live on your own terms. You can do work that’s fulfilling and meaningful, and have more security because your future will be in your own hands.
Here’s a few ways to start adapting to this growing revolution in our work life.
1. Write your own job description
“Every man’s work, whether it be literature, or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself.” – Samuel Butler
We have the opportunity to do more creative and diverse work. It’s time to think beyond the old institution of being told what to do and create a different system for your work life.
We can do work we’re being called to do and create what author Jeff Goins calls the portfolio life. Instead of just having one role or position, the portfolio life is about blending numerous strengths and talents to have a variety of ways of offering value.
You’re future job description can come directly from who you are as a person. It can be based on what you care about, what you love to do, and the personal gifts you have to offer.
2. Find a Mission You’re Passionate About
We live in a world shrouded in sociopolitical tension and unrest, and at the same time have greater interdependence and abundance than ever. Decide what you stand for at the intersection of these two positions.
If you want to make a difference in the world you have access to the technology and resources to do so.
Decide your primary life aim and make it your mission to solve this problem. This is where you can stand out and take the lead.
3. Invest in entrepreneurial skills
I had one college course on entrepreneurship and it’s been trial and error since. The class sparked my interest but it didn’t teach me about vision, or about courage and resiliency.
The class didn’t help me learn about direct marketing or using a “service call” instead of a sales call. It didn’t teach me the most important skill to develop in our changing world, which is adaptable perseverance; the wisdom to pivot when necessary and still have grit to stick it out through the ups and downs.
In an ever changing professional climate, learn the skills to help you adapt to this more self-directed way of working.
4. Create art, create value
“Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Put yourself out there. Share your gifts and talents. Create something. Be up to something that is valuable to others. Show what makes you distinct.
Adapting to what Seth Godin calls the “connection economy,” means taking advantage of a level playing field to start a business. This involves greater vulnerability, but ultimately those who put themselves out there will own their professional destiny, because they’re creating opportunities.
You have the opportunity to share your art, to share your vision, and to be more valuable to others because of it.
5. Start to leverage your time and money
You can have more time to focus on your dream job without feeling like you’re financially unstable.
This is because the gig economy now makes it easier to have multiple streams of income. Whether through selling your creative products on Etsy or hooking up with part-time work as an Uber driver, you can make money and build a more flexible schedule as well.
Take some time to think about how you can capitalize on these occupational trends.
Figure out what work you want to do and start building the system to do it.
Photo by Jeroen van Abeelen