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"The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident."

 
Marge Piercy, To be of use
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Gracious reader,

The Internet is terribly pleased to inform you that "jobs" will disappear:  everyone is fated to become a (so-called) entrepreneur.

Whether you're an employee, or an independent contractor, your work is work.  If you have the option to choose your status, keep your eye on the financial and other implications of your decision. 

I view all Future of Work stories as speculative fiction, along with plotlines on the virtues of (so-called) independence. 

The Internet is an unreliable narrator, and a crappy mentor.  Who is constructing this story; what are their motives? 

Workplace norms and practices you're willing to question, believe, create, and accept:  you're making choices.  They matter.

You and your peers are the true authors of the future of work.
The Emperor Is Actually Wearing (Some) Clothes

Employees exchange labor for an even stream of cash flows, an opportunity to develop professionally, and a handful of benefits.  Some benefits have financial value; others are less measurable, yet important.
 
  • "A manager learned that Ms. Evans was taking computer classes while she was working as a janitor and asked her to teach some other employees how to use spreadsheet software to track inventory.  When she eventually finished her college degree in 1987, she was promoted to a professional-track job in information technology."  When you're fortunate, your manager will help you to steward your professional development.  (That's not the punch line of this NY Times story, though.)
     
  • "The development of trusting relationships is a significant emotional compensation for employees in today's marketplace."  Work from Gallup elaborates on some of the non-financial reasons we come to work.
     
  • You may not need to be an independent contractor to take business expense deductions at tax time. 
     
  • "In the old days, if I saw someone sleeping in a chair, I would have thought they were getting divorced.  Now it’s because they have to travel further to get to work."  Simply having a job isn't always enough.  Housing can be prohibitively expensive, even when you're earning more than minimum wage.  Pressure to pay employees the lowest possible wage is a thing, even when it's self-defeating.
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Independence:  Not Always as Hip as it's Cracked Up to Be

Freelancers sell services to multiple organizations, pay full freight for benefits and payroll taxes, compensate themselves between gigs, and rely on their own devices to develop their skills.  And to collect what they're owed.
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Yes, We Are Changing the World
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Decisions about how you work are deeply personal.   May you find work that meets your needs, and supports your growth and development -- whatever form it comes in.

Thanks for reading,

Anne Libby

P.S.  Comments, questions, topic suggestions?  I read and respond to every email I receive.  Or, send me your anonymous feedback or suggestions, too.
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