I read something recently to the effect that our being required to continually reinvent ourselves for work and to anticipate constant change and to celebrate that as freedom is the ultimate tyranny.
I was musing on this with a client who’d mentioned being “in full swing reinventing myself (again)” a couple of days ago. I mentioned this notion of tyranny and she agreed. She wrote: “The change is not always a choice. My situation -more than anything- feels like wild rafting whereby I am constantly in need of surviving. Of course I learn a lot, and it keeps me very flexible. But I would love to have more choice over things. And time, to for instance concentrate on a strategy for my blog. I hope to come to some sort of such a point, but I frankly do not know at this moment if our gig economy will allow for it…”
In another conversation, someone mentioned that in the USA, if you’re over 40 you’re not even looked at for jobs. I would counter that the older generation might be feeling there’s a bias because they have known an economy that was generous with jobs before. I don’t think the younger generation is having such a different experience with jobs per se—but they may embrace the gig economy with more enthusiasm.
And here’s the conundrum: being enthusiastic may or may not make the difference. A young woman I know who is in her twenties, for example, has recently been persuaded to sign up for a program which promises high income building a consulting business. She’s also signed up for another program where she will live in twelve different countries for a year, working remotely. Her plan is to help others “do what they love and make money in the gig economy”. She has borrowed the money required to leave her job and set off into the blue like this. My hat’s off to her for her adventurous spirit but the potential for a complete crash isn’t trivial.
But there it is. We have plenty else going on in the world that is going to cause situations that don’t belong on anyone’s bucket list. Climate change, wars and human tyrants are disrupting people’s ability to live where they want to—let alone work where or how they want to. A lot of what comes at us isn’t what we would choose. But it is always the blend of what comes at us with how we handle it that determines what tomorrow looks like.
Ultimately, we need to embrace and celebrate the opportunities we have, whatever they are; to embrace them and to use them with love and vision. Life is messy but we can always do that.