October 11, 2017
Fortune favors the extroverts.
Before we discuss the future of work, let’s take a moment to remember the businesses we lost in 2017. Wet Seal, Radio Shack, American Apparel, Gordmans, Gander Mountain, hhgregg are all gone or nearly gone. And The Limited–with its oddly clairvoyant name–didn’t make it either.
2017 is doing to retailers and jobs what 2016 did to celebrities. September was the first month, in seven years, in which America experienced a net decline in jobs. Although, hurricanes played a large role in skewing the numbers and unemployment continued to decline (4.2 percent).
Our eyes tell us something is happening, something big. We are in the middle of a sea change when it comes to retail and the future of work. And they are both related and unrelated.
Every generation we try to predict what the in-demand job of the future will be. Not this time. Because the job of the future won’t even be a job. It won’t look, feel or act like the jobs we knew.
Companies are smarter, more efficient, aware that the true cost of employees is not wages and benefits but the output they create versus the time spent managing them and molding them in to exactly what they want to be. That’s the true cost of having employees. Bringing in the right expertise for an exact project makes tons of sense, even if you pay a premium for that expertise because there is no wasted time or effort.
R.I.P. watercoolers and Keurig machines everywhere.
Couple that with the increased ability for people to share their expertise online, build a personal brand, show real and tangible accomplishment and you can see where this is heading. You don’t need to check a resume and references to see if someone may or may not be capable. You can see visible success or failure.
Even though this feels like it happened overnight, it didn’t. This has building since the late 1990’s. Technology has made us mobile, social media has made us visible and competition has made businesses focus more and more on efficiency.
“The Monday-Friday 9-5 job for life has moved on and much of the jobs growth over the last 10-15 years has occurred in non-traditional, alternative ways of working,” said Jonas Prising, Chairman & CEO, Manpower in a study released last week. “While the uberization of work grabs the headlines, the number of people working in gigs is still only a small part of the labor force. However, those seeking flexible, non-traditional ways of working are significantly greater.”
In this study Manpower looked at the top reasons why people seek what they call the next generation of work.
Now there are differences between high-level consulting and doing a side hustle with Uber, Deliveroo or UpWork. Side hustles are great and create flexibility. They are the bridge between where we were and where we are heading.
Here’s the most valuable piece of advice I can give any student, graduate or person looking for a career change–have an expertise in something and make sure everyone knows it. It can be anything.
There are people right now that get paid millions to play video games. Anything is valuable but brand yourself as the best in the world at it and reinforce that with everything you do.
The current landscape is and will continue to favor self-promoting extroverts that can network and show their value to companies.
If you’re starting a business you’re willing to overpay slightly for people with real expertise because they will help you grow your business and contacts better and faster than employees. Consultants are more expensive for their time but they should take less time, not require benefits or time spent training.
Do the math on how much time it would take to train entry level employees do a task. Give a dollar amount to your time and you’ll see what the opportunity cost is.
If you’re looking for a job, stop. Create an expertise. Make yourself the value. You can be an entrepreneur without starting a business, because going forward YOU are the business and business is booming.