Once upon a time, not so long ago, there existed this place called “The Office”.
In the morning, the average worker would get up, have breakfast, kiss their kids goodbye, get in their car, and drive to “The Office”. That person would get to “The Office”, put in their 8 hours, get in the car, and drive home. Once home, their day was essentially done.
In today’s world, all of the rules have changed. The office now resides on your mobile phone and laptop. It is on and with you 24 hours a day. In many cases, there isn’t even such a place as “The Office” in a literal and physical sense. “The office” is wherever the phone rings, or the email comes in. You can be sitting at the coffee shop, or having afternoon with your family. When that call or email comes in, you immediately shift to “The Office” mode.
Somehow that doesn’t seem fair. It’s very intrusive. Where does your personal life start and your workday end? The answer is that the line is now blurred. On a positive note, it also means that you don’t have to punch a clock and be in the same place everyday to “Work”. “Work” is more an on-&-off thing. No morning commute, no sitting in one place everyday.
The reason I am raising this point, is that the students of today will become the workforce of tomorrow. Part of our job as educators is to prepare them for work. That includes the skills they will need, as well as the work habits. With the face of work changing, they need to know what to expect.
How and where they receive that paycheck is much different than it was even ten years ago, and will continue to evolve. Technology has made it easier to work from a remote location. It has also made it easier for them to become global workers, and work from wherever they are, with teams spread all over the world. The main criteria will become talent, not proximity to “The Office”.
It is projected that in within ten years, over a third of the workforce will be self employed. The work environment will resemble the Hollywood model. Highly talented and specialized teams of people will gather together into a temporary work unit, complete a project, and disband. People will wander from group to group.
With this model, there will be a lot of freedom, freedom to work when they want, and take time off for personal use. There will be freedom to create, as the requirements for this type of work will require highly innovative people. On the downside of this model, is the uncertainty of a regular paycheck, health benefits, and a retirement program. The worker in this environment will have to extremely disciplined. They will have to manage their time and financial resources. It is not a lifestyle for everyone. But it is a great place for the free spirit, and someone who is willing to take a chance.
I meet young people like this everyday. It is exhilarating to hear about the exciting lives they lead. They travel all over the world, speaking to groups, meeting with important people, and living an exciting life. There are experts at networking, meeting new people everyday. I ask them if they would rather have the security of a “Day Job”, with a regular paycheck. Most tell me they had that life, and gave it up for their current one. None would go back. They are adventurers, entrepreneurs, and brave souls. I admire them for their spirit, tenacity, and expertise.
The media industry is filled with this model, and individual. They make excellent speakers and role models. If you ever run into one of them, invite them to your class to speak to your students. They are inspiring, and filled with knowledge. This is the world waiting for your students. Make sure you let them know what to expect when they graduate.
Perry Goldstein is a veteran of the electronics industry, with both consumer and Pro A/V electronics experience. He is also a professional speaker, and writer for the electronics industry. He has won numerous awards for product design. Perry is currently the Director of New Digital Technologies for Marshall Electronics and MXL pro audio division, as well as an instructor of digital marketing at the higher education level.