After a tumultuous few months (year, actually) where I have been through the wringer at my workplace, and ended up finding an oasis, my journey to freedom has been on hold for a while, waiting for the dust to settle. Breathing, and feeling a sense of both contentment and achievement that I haven’t felt for a long time. To cut a long story short, after bouncing back to my department (after being out for three years) and bouncing around from one job to another (because I’d landed back during a time of immense change, and the powers that be didn’t know what to do with me), I managed to manoeuvre back into a communications role. The good news is that I’m enjoying the work and I finally have current skills on my CV. The bad news is this role is still temporary. Or, so I’ve been told.
But when I think about it, everything in life is temporary. Even life—the one I’m living now—is a death sentence. I could tie yourself up in knots about this, but it doesn’t help. Temporary is the new black. I’ve learned that how we deal with temporary—our mindset and response—sorts the men from the boys, the women from the girls. We behave as if things are set in stone, that nothing changes. But it does. Everything in this world is in a state of flux. And when you think about it disruption and innovation—current business buzzwords—are all about capitalising on temporary situations, speeding them up.
This too will pass. ~ Hebrew proverb
Even ideas are temporary. I have constant flow of them in and out of my brain. Some I capture. Most I don’t. But that’s not the point. James Altucher advocates becoming an idea machine. In fact, he likes ideas so much that he suggests that ideas are the new economy. Of the ideas I come up with, 99.9% of them aren’t workable. I literally can’t do anything with them, or about them (and Altucher says that’s ok). But there are .1% of my ideas that are awesome, so I do need to do something about them. My ideas are mainly around creativity (books and photography projects and essay topics and blog series) and income generation (how I can make money without having to buy a lottery ticket and crossing my fingers and hoping that I’ll win big). Some of the ideas I have are for solving a few of society’s problems.
And I guess that’s the point of the WFA.Life. Anyone that yearns for and embraces this lifestyle—and the freedom it promises—must be nimble, flexible, temporary. We must be constantly generating ideas for working better, smarter and more lucratively. Collaboration and networking and solving problems is part and parcel of this way of working. But employers—and those who provide our work—must also come to the party. Too often “guns for hire” are treated disrespectfully, with a race to the bottom in terms of payment (which is why—for the most part—I’m against freelance job sites, where freelancers enter bidding wars for the work).
I’m still a big fan of portfolio work (a mix of freelance gigs and having a job) and diversified income streams (passive and active). I like the security of having a job—and, let’s be honest, a fortnightly paycheck that appears in my bank account as if by magic and sick leave and holiday pay and long service leave—but I’d like to be able to do that job from anywhere if I choose. Where I work shouldn’t make any difference to the quality of my work and my timelines for delivering that work. Being present and sitting at a desk is not an indication of my performance, or my ability to deliver results. Not today, when we have so many tools at our disposal that we can—literally—work from anywhere.
Practise always sprints ahead of policy, and this area is no different. It is my prediction that within the next five years (maybe sooner), big organisations, like government departments, will look to further cut costs by divesting themselves of bricks and mortar office blocks (and all the associated on-costs) and it will be the norm to employ remote workers. And by remote, I mean, workers who may be local, but work from a local cafe, or a business hub, or from a yacht in the Greek Islands. I would put up my hand and say pick me.
After all, it’s only a matter of time.
Andy spends his time away from the computer cycling or hiking up mountains or catching a wave on his SUP.