Harvard Business Review has reported that today’s workforce of 17 million independent workers should rise to 23 million by 2017. Those numbers speak of a growing number of full-time employees working as an independent contractors on off hours. Moonlighting, if you will. Why now? What has changed? Perhaps it is based on the recent years of economic turmoil. More workers find the need to supplement their salary to makes ends meet. Or possibly there is a fear of change management resulting in one’s unemployment with no fallback plan. Or is it shear entrepreneurialism with a constant curiosity for growth and challenge?
For me I say yes to all three. I’ve taken the entrepreneurial road as a weary traveler from corporate misfortune. I needed something else in my life that didn’t revolve around impressing the boss. It was time I began to impress myself. And as I take the next step to establish a full-time position back in some part of the corporate world, I think these many months of working on my own have given me an invaluable perspective on business, success and what I am looking for in my next challenge (surely not just a paycheck). The truth is that I am looking for more meaning in my work. The days of punching in and punching out are over. There just isn’t a time in my day or evening that I’m not thinking, rethinking and planning for some way to improve, sustain and perfect what I am doing.
You may think that I have lost perspective and balance in my life. Well I’d have to agree; but there you have it. Single, childless and no hobby leave me seeking fulfillment through friends, family and work. Turns out I’m not alone. People of my generation are seeking more meaning out of their careers…even at the risk of lowered salaries. This shift certainly isn’t how things were when I began working decades ago. It speaks to today’s GenX and GenY workforce. We now have the experience to be in positions of real power and influence. And I hope we are using that power wisely.