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The flexibility to engage multiple clients, as many
freelancers do, casts a wide professional net and opens up many more
opportunities than the traditional work model ever did
It was very different in our grandparents' day.
For most of last century, a person's work life was usually spent
working for the same employer, often in the same role. In the same
bricks-and-mortar building. To the same clock-on-clock-off weekly
schedule. With little or no variation.
Now, half way through the second decade of the 21st
century, this work model has all but disappeared. There are probably a
few workers out there who still march to the beat of this old school
drum, but they're a small minority. These days, the modern working
environment is characterized by a lot of contractual or casual work,
often for many different employers ("clients"), and even
across different sectors and industry areas. A worker these days can
expect to change employers multiple times throughout their career.
Much has been made about the disadvantages of this kind of
"floating" work model. About its inconsistency and lack of
job security, and how many workers lack some of the basic protections
and privileges that the previous work model provided, such as annual leave.
But to dwell on the "good old days" also fails to recognize
the many advantages and opportunities that are available to workers in
this day and age of contracts and casuals. There is a lot of autonomy
and flexibility available to workers whose skillset can be adapted to
contract, temporary and casual style work.
The digital age has drastically changed the way we interact with each
other. High speed internet access has made it possible for more people
in more career areas to work remotely, making it easier to work for
multiple clients from home or the local cafe. Fifty years ago, the
mere idea of working from home or being your own boss was the ultimate
notion of having "made it".
This gradual shift away from traditional employment and towards
people acting as independent contractors and freelancers has created a
huge cross-pollination of contacts, ideas and options. The flexibility
to engage multiple clients, as many freelancers do, casts a wide
professional net and opens up many more opportunities than the
traditional work model ever did.
Websites like Freelancer, Upwork, Fiverr
and even Uber have created a whole new industry based on the flexible
working model. This blurring of the line between work and leisure has
enormous appeal for many people, especially parents or budding artists
who want to dedicate time to personal projects.
These days, if you have a skillset that's valued, (regardless of the
industry) you can choose when, how and where you work. The ability to
conduct business transactions while lying on the beach, or to finish
off an important report at home wearing your pyjamas can barely feel
like work at all.