The Future of Work is Short-term and/or Non-exclusive

Millennials are known for being non-committal. They are taking longer to get married, or choosing to delay or opt-out of having children. This is also the case when it comes to employment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 57% of workers within the ages of 60–64 had 10+ years of tenure with their employers. For employees within the ages of 30–34, only 12% had 10+ years of tenure. A new term adopted mostly by the younger demographic,“side hustle”, has been coined to refer to a job or project individuals take on outside of their primary workplace. It is one of the reasons for the the increased popularity of the gig economy. The ability to work on different jobs/tasks at a time of your choosing. The way people are working, as well as where they are working is changing.

New/new-ish employees are jumping from job to job. We must identify what is giving these employees the confidence to follow this trend. For older generations, it was not uncommon for someone to retire at the very company where they first started. However, the reason they did this was far more than just for job security. The definition of what a job is has been completely redefined, or is at least beginning to. Until very recently, your job tended to be a large part of your identity. In the epicenters of technology, i.e. Silicon Valley, LA, NYC, etc…, a job is no longer necessarily something you need to have in order to survive. When we started to become more aware of how much time we actually spend working, the mentality of how we approach a job began to change.

While most people do still work at a job they dislike, or are at least indifferent to, the possibility of working on something that gives you purpose is becoming more accessible. If we are being realistic, we will acknowledge that this will never be true for everyone. Some people will continue to work jobs they don’t necessarily like in order to support themselves. However, the gig economy is providing a different option for these people. While most jobs remain true to the common 9–5 operating hours, the gig economy allows people to work a job to pay the bills, while giving them the flexibility to work on their own schedules.

This further highlights the idea of non-exclusivity. For example, someone may drive for Lyft while they try to grow their business on Etsy. At the same time, they may also be interested in becoming an influencer on Instagram, so it is important for them to focus on growing their following on that platform. This example is just one of many. Another would be a PM at Google working on a tech startup on the side, while also pumping out content for a podcast/blog they started. It is now possible for people to have their hand in a number of different pots, which not only gives them multiple revenue streams, but also allows them to pursue their various interests.

Regardless of official employment status, full-time, part-time, contract, etc…, the relationship between employers and employees is changing. There are so many different ways to make money / work on projects of interest that work is quickly becoming just another item on our calendars. A paycheck does not buy loyalty or exclusive attention.

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