Skip to comments.The Freelance Surge Is the Industrial Revolution of Our Time (Welcome to the Gig Life)
Posted on 09/02/2011 6:38:55 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
It's been called the Gig Economy, Freelance Nation, the Rise of the Creative Class, and the e-conomy, with the "e" standing for electronic, entrepreneurial, or perhaps eclectic. Everywhere we look, we can see the U.S. workforce undergoing a massive change. No longer do we work at the same company for 25 years, waiting for the gold watch, expecting the benefits and security that come with full-time employment. We're no longer simply lawyers, or photographers, or writers. Instead, we're part-time lawyers-cum- amateur photographers who write on the side.
Today, careers consist of piecing together various types of work, juggling multiple clients, learning to be marketing and accounting experts, and creating offices in bedrooms/coffee shops/coworking spaces. Independent workers abound. We call them freelancers, contractors, sole proprietors, consultants, temps, and the self-employed.
And, perhaps most surprisingly, many of them love it.
This transition is nothing less than a revolution. We haven't seen a shift in the workforce this significant in almost 100 years when we transitioned from an agricultural to an industrial economy. Now, employees are leaving the traditional workplace and opting to piece together a professional life on their own. As of 2005, one-third of our workforce participated in this "freelance economy." Data show that number has only increased over the past six years. Entrepreneurial activity in 2009 was at its highest level in 14 years, online freelance job postings skyrocketed in 2010, and companies are increasingly outsourcing work. While the economy has unwillingly pushed some people into independent work, many have chosen it because of greater flexibility that lets them skip the dreary office environment and focus on more personally fulfilling projects.
(Excerpt) Read more at theatlantic.com ...
lol. Welcome to the 90s. 20 more years to go and you'll be up to speed.
If this administration has its way all this independence will soon end. Have you seen the public service announcements warning about 1099 fraud? How about the DOL case against a Texas company that says their contract gate guards living in their own RVs are not really independent contractors but instead under payed hourly workers. The DOL claims the company owes $6mm in back taxes and wages.
This administration is on a campaign against 1099 workers of any stripe. People who pay their own taxes are people who know how much the government really takes. Can’t have that.
Talk about trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. The reason people have to “patch different employment together” is because the economy sucks and they can’t sustain a lifetime career in one field. I bet these people enjoy a lot of “funemployment” too.
I just stumbled across oDesk. Some of the jobs posted pay slave wages and some are outright scams. This might be the future - hiring yourself out for short gigs, hopping from job to job. You might work for 20 different companies over the year.
Such a chaotic work life may make people think that a larger social safety net is called for. I’m sure the Democrats would be pleased if people became fearful and looked to the government to smooth out any roughness in their lives.
ODesk.com paid out $13.5 million in freelance wages in Jan. 2011 and in the month just ended (Aug. 2011) that number had grown to $20.5 million.
They list gigs for a wide and growing range of disciplines and skillsets (obviously limited to those which can been applied over the internet).
So I love the idea of this type of work - independent, short projects, paid for what you offer .... BUT I know that it’s not for me because I’m too much of an introvert and uncomfortable with the whole sales side of things. Any hints or pointers from fellow freepers on how to approach breaking into this?
In addition, while I know I can add value, the whole “consulting” thing has such a bad reputation that I’m not sure I want to be associated with it. How to get around that as well.
"We don't actually know the true composition of the new workforce. After 2005, the government stopped counting independent workers in a meaningful and accurate way. Studies have shown that the independent workforce has grown and changed significantly since then, but the government hasn't substantiated those results with a new, official count. Washington can't fix what it can't count. Since policies and budget decisions are based on data, freelancers are not being taken into account as a viable, critical component of the U.S. workforce. We're not acknowledging their prevalence and economic contributions, let alone addressing the myriad challenges they face."
The essence of the paragraph is true. But the key sentences should read:
"Washington can't TAX, REGULATE OR OTHERWISE SCREW UP what they can't find"
Alternate title: Lots of people can’t find jobs
We are becoming a “Nation of Shopkeepers”. Start your own business, 1099 etc . . .
Fewer world class manufacturing facilities and the requisite high-paying jobs, fewer parts and mission critical process subsidiaries and many cutting edge innovators stifled by government intrusion?
5 McJobs does not equal one, high quality, value-adding, economy-growing competition crushing career.
I am all for multiple streams of income. Self actualization and pursuing ones dreams etc ... But high paying “E” jobs vanish just as easily as high-paying machinists jobs. If one were to factor-down the mutiple jobs retained by individuals to make the same income as their previous job, the un-employment rate would rise dramatically.
Once The Won is retired in 2012, we can begin rebuilding our country.
Ding, ding, ding - we have a thread winnah!
It is called “casual Labor”, another word for the unemployed.
If this lifestyle is attractive to you, learn spanish and go hang out in the Home Depot parking lot.