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山西财院78jitong 19781017--19820715

 
 
 

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78jitong.......................................................... 高三李五七弓长,三赵九刘七大王,阎吴谢孙崔氏双,柴米余侯箩万堂, 毛邓陈宋任申杭,曾肖徐翁程董梁,储曲祁解韦国强,男女七十学跟党。

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What will work look like in 20 years?

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of buzz around different labor related topics: minimum wage, inequality, job creation, millennial turnover, workers rights, and how to recruit and keep talent -among others.

So I started wondering where we’ll be in 20 years when in comes to work, how part of the tech industry is a leading example of what millennials want out of their jobs, and the part government will have to inevitably play in this new labor paradigm.

‘Uberization’ Nation

It’s easy, fast, reliable, and non-committal. In the last year you’ve probably gotten at least one ‘on demand service’ App recommendation, together with the phrase“it’s like Uber, but for -blah-”. We’ve ‘uberized’ grocery shopping,home-cleaning, coding, legal advice, and pretty much any other service around.

With Uber at a $62.5 Billion valuation, this #NewEconomy model isn’t going anywhere any time soon, but concern has risen around the rights of the people delivering these services, and how government should be protecting them.

The countless labor law debates that have emerged from the success of the ‘on-demand service’ business model, personally remind me of the whole Metallica vs.Napster era. It wasn’t until the music industry adapted to the delivery model users had organically migrated to, that that battle winded down. Consuming music legally had to become the easiest and fastest option, in order for the industry to survive.

We’re migrating to a model of decentralized, independent, self-managed labor, and it won’t be long until government needs to adapt, like the music industry once did, to provide support and security to workers who choose and prefer this lifestyle.

It’s a feature, not a bug

Even though there is data sustaining that Millennial job turnover is just a myth, companies, especially in tech, are spending millions of dollars annually figuring out ways to hold on to their most valuable young employees, who are constantly looking to be challenged and in movement.

There has also been a lot of analysis around how millennials value experiences over owning things, and this translates to every aspect of their lives, including work.

“Ownership just isn’t hard anymore. We can now find and own practically anything we want, at any time, through the unending flea market of the Internet. Because of this, the balance between supply and demand has been altered, and the value has moved elsewhere.”?—?Josh Allan Dykstra,FastCompany.

But where has value moved towards in the work industry? I believe self-management and independence are the ultimate benefits for millennials. There is value in working whenever you want, from wherever you choose, but most importantly on whatever is driving you at that specific time.

As some leading tech companies like Automattic explore decentralized models, with a lot of ‘self-management’ benefits and flexibility that might just scale enough to cater to this audience, many others take the road of increasing the appeal of being present, like 3 meals a day, yoga lessons, and even laundry services at the office. In my opinion this is ignoring the forest for the trees.

Freelancers have been around for long, but often times workers around their 30s are seduced by the security and stability of full time employment, so they choose to commit to traditional full time work. It’s not about the meals or the laundry, it’s usually about healthcare, retirement, predictability, and peace of mind.

Is it possible to have our cake and eat it too in this case? Can we work in a decentralized, independent, self-sustained way and still have security, peace of mind, healthcare, and be working members of society? I think so.

How we’ll adapt

When I was a freelancer my biggest issue was doing “normal people” things, like renting an apartment. No paystubs, no reliability, you’re deemed an unsafe bet. If there was a legal way to be considered employed without having an employer, that’s the game changer.

These dependencies are working now for the companies trying to hold on to the old paradigm, but with the on-demand work model picking up, government is going to have to come up with more and better ways to include these workers as independent, self-managing, self-employed individuals.

I don’t think the answer is “Uber should be the legal employer of every driver”, even though today that’s the only way to provide this much needed legal protection. I believe the answer is in redefining employment; what it means to be a working person from a legal standpoint.

Imagine I’m currently working 8 hours a day, doing jobs i get from 3 different on-demand companies: Am I self-employed? Should I be paying income and self-employment taxes, as well as my own health and retirement benefits? Should I be legally employed by all 3 companies?

Or should there be a tax on this type of labor that is directed towards my worker rights, and my “value” as a professional defined by the cumulative worth of everything I do? It will come down to labor law reform, for government to adapt and become the responsible and moderating entity for the workforce, as these scenarios become more common and span across the whole spectrum of the workforce.

As this happens traditional employment will need to adapt too. Following the path of some tech companies, full time employment will continue to grow more flexible, location agnostic, and benefit oriented, as the ‘un-matchable’ benefits of a self-managed lifestyle continue to gain territory.


Needless to say I’m no expert in law, and my views on the part government should play in this may be too ‘liberal’ for some, but overall I believe that in 20 years we’ll be needing a new category for workers, not employed nor self-employed, that choose a self-managed lifestyle and can still rent an apartment -if they choose to do so.

 
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