Is the Future of Work Stuck in the Past?

Here’s an interesting and thoughtful piece from the National Freelancers Union. More people are talking about the new, freelance workforce (also known as the “gig economy”), but rarely from the point of view of those freelance workers themselves. Read on to get the union’s take on this tendency, particularly in academia:

Is the Future of Work Stuck in the Past?

This article is reproduced with the permission of the Freelancers Union partner, Trupo.

antique carAlmost 25 years ago, Freelancers Union was formed to cater to the needs of a growing independent workforce – one that didn’t have a mechanism to help everyone come together, pool resources, and advocate for their rights.

Now, roughly 56.7 million – one in three – Americans reported freelancing last year, contributing $1 trillion to the economy. Naturally, the rise of the gig economy, coworking spaces, and terms like “permalance” spark discussions and panels around the future of work.

Unfortunately, more often than not, Future of Work conversations focus on the impact on businesses rather than individual workers. Over a nice catered lunch, attendees are given advice on how businesses should market to the new workforce as consumers, and most recently, how technology and automation will affect business profitability and the labor force.

Notably absent from the talks are the middle-class workers directly shaping the future. These events happen at think tanks and academic institutions, fueled by an influx of philanthropic funding. Yes, they can lead to some interesting solutions for potential challenges the workforce could face, but they’re not coming from the people who are most affected by the changing work structure and economy. In fact, “The Future of Work” takeaways are often radically disconnected from the needs of American workers.

Read the rest of this article on the Freelancers Union blog.

 

Working for Free as a Newbie: Is it Ever Worth it?

shaking-hands-over-laptop-and-papers

A lot of new businesses end up providing their products or services free of charge, as a way of gaining name recognition and potential paying business down the road. But, is this opportunity or exploitation? As Naya of the National Freelancers Union points out, “you can’t pay your bills with exposure and experience.”

Is there a way to take the upper hand in such a situation, and negotiate from a position of strength rather than weakness? Take a look at Naya’s article, which has some interesting and useful suggestions for getting more than “exposure” out of a free gig.

 

Working for Free as a Newbie: Is it Ever Worth it?
by Naya the Creative of the National Freelancers Union

You’ve been designing/painting/consulting/writing code/underwater basket weaving for years. Maybe you’re self-taught or maybe you’ve taken some classes. Either way, you have skills. And, if you do say so yourself, you’ve gotten pretty damn good at what you’re doing. But, since you’ve never charged actual money, and you have no idea how to get clients for a new business, you’re feeling a little insecure.

You don’t have a portfolio, or case studies, or past clients to show for your skillset. And even though all of your friends keep telling you, like, every day, to go out on your own and start a business, none of them have any experience in how to get clients. And yeah, while you’re glad that they’re so supportive of you, you don’t actually know what to do now. #Pressure

Because, even though you’re really talented, you don’t know how to get clients for a new business when you’ve never had clients.

Read the rest of this article.

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