The End of Work as We Know It

Do you want to get out of your mindless job. Do you want to be an entrepreneur, paid for your innovative creativity?

Can you handle zero separation between your work and your play?

Good questions for the budding 2009 entrepreneur. Do you know why people can’t take the entrepreneurial leap? Fear of losing the patterns that shape their work and private lives. The same patterns that shaped their parents lives and their grandparents lives. Losing the walls that separate the private from the public.

The 9-5 work paradigm is dying

People used to go off to the factory or the office, for approximately 9.5 hours a day including commute, return home, and do their best to leave work behind. But no one really did, did they? It was kinda a lie we all told ourselves. Because the only real way to leave work at work, is to leave your paycheck at work. Your home life is directly affected by the stability of your paycheck, isn’t it? In family life, there is no way to remove the home from the economic situation and if your only income is a job, your job determines the decisions your family makes.

The line between work and home is disintegrating

Even if you have a corporate job there is a growing trend toward telecommuting. And there is a growing trend toward home based internet businesses. Our home life is becoming our work life. The industrial age is nearly dead, and taking its old social patterns with it.

The line between our public and private lives is blurring

The relationships we have in our personal life are quickly becoming the same relationships we have in our business life. Our social networks are becoming our business networks. The people we associate with directly determine our economic success. Our work and home lives are not separate, they are one life.

Change your thinking and change your life

Can you handle exposing your life to the world? If you can, the internet and social media will give you the greatest opportunity to realize your dreams man has ever known. Get over your fear of losing your privacy. If you can’t, you will be left behind.

6 thoughts on “The End of Work as We Know It”

  1. Isn’t this what we call farming? – no 9-5, line between work/family time blurring…
    Seems to me that we are just going back to where we used to be.

  2. This is an interesting observation, and something I’ve thought about for some time. For me, there are a few pros and cons to this emerging lifestyle. For one, even with a so-called corporate job, things are far more flexible than they were in the past. A typical 40-hour week is expected of me, but that doesn’t mean I’m chained to a desk from 9-5 every day. Instead, I can work longer if I need to some days, shorter other days, and even remotely thanks to technology. This is fantastic, because the world doesn’t revolve around an eight hour work day between the hours of 9 and 5.

    But as great as this is, I think that always being available can be detrimental as well. In the past, if you worked a job with a fixed schedule, didn’t have email or a blackberry chained to your hip, for the most part when you came home after work, it was no longer work. It was family time, or golf league time, or whatever. But it was separate from work, and you were not expected to be available to handle work-related tasks (for the most part).

    Now, it’s common for your boss to shoot off an email at 8 pm and expect an answer. Sure, you probably don’t HAVE to answer it, but what happens when your co-workers are regularly taking care of this stuff in the evenings or weekends? It will get noticed, and you need to keep up or potentially fall behind. So now instead of finding time to relax or do non-work things, you’re constantly checking email or your crackberry on the weekend to make sure you haven’t missed anything.

    So I agree, the lines are blurring, and expectations are changing. And with that comes a lot of additional flexibility, but I think it also brings with it a lot of added stress. People are becoming obsessed with their work thanks to technology making it available to them 24/7. People are losing the balance that’s needed in their lives. That’s not to say it can’t be achieved, but it requires work on a personal level to accomplish it. In the past, it was clearly defined by the hours you worked. Now in many cases, there are no lines. But as you said, this is the way things are going, so you need to embrace it and find a way to work with it so that you aren’t left behind.

  3. @jim, I never thought about it, but you’re right. It is like the family farm. My son goes to MMA classes and the school is a family run shop. The whole family, including the children, work it. It’s open 7 days a week. I see the same thing emerging in many other areas. I think it’s good for us. Kids need to see work and understand it. Work is generally just helping other people in one capacity or another.

    @Jeremy, I know the conflict. I like the change as long as it brings flexibility and compassion with it. I have no problem working through an issue in China at 11 PM, as long as no one expects me to be chained to a chair from 9-5. If they expect both, well… that’s a problem. When it comes to running your own homebased business, you make A LOT of sacrifices, but gain A LOT of freedom. I know for Christine and I, we spend most waking hours working on something. That just our nature. I don’t think I’d want any other way. That doesn’t mean I don’t spend tons of time with my kids. We both do. From my observations, I think we spend more time with our kids than most people with traditional work arrangements.

    For me personally, I don’t think I’d like to work 100% from home. I like it sometimes, for certain things, but I also like to have an office to go to as well. And believe it or not, I even enjoy commuting… sometimes. I listen to business, tech, financial, and other podcasts. I’ve found a way to make commuting productive.

  4. I agree, and think that those who are self-employed, or work out of the house almost entirely have it a lot easier in terms of being able to separate work and home time. I think the biggest problem right now is employers missing the boat. Many are trying to give their employees more freedom, or work at home arrangements, or technology to be more flexible, but they don’t know how to implement it correctly. It’s great that they are trying to embrace the movement, but it’s usually creating more work and stress for the employees since the requirements or expectations are not clear.

    This should improve over time as it becomes more mainstream, but for now, I know a lot of people who had their workload or hours they put in go up just because their employer gave out cell phones or allowed people to check email or work from home occasionally. The idea is to improve efficiency, but I’m not sure we’re there yet.

  5. Thanks for this post. Personally, I keep transitioning more toward working from home, and I find that I’m basically working the same number of hours — but the difference is that I can work during my periods of inspiration, as opposed to when someone else tells me to work, and so I get higher-quality writing done, I think, than I would if someone was scheduling my writing time. Best, Chris

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