Postcard from the Future
I think you called it the 'Gig Economy’, people working for themselves and offering their services on a freelance basis. Self-employed tradespeople and subcontractors were as old as the hills, but when it extended to knowledge workers, things started to change.
It began with mass homeworking and the realisation that people were just as productive, if not more so, when they were concentrating at home. No more noisy office distractions and time wasted gossiping about football or the latest TV dramas.
Businesses of a certain size ‘cottoned-on’ first, but everyone got there in the end. Expanding companies who needed to improve their marketing and brand identity led the way, mainly because they couldn’t afford to hire someone full-time. Once businesses start to scale, it’s no longer acceptable to have a website that reads like a dyslexic 11-year old’s essay.
It wasn’t just the salaries of the people either, it was the additional employer contributions that really hurt. I remember realising that to pay someone a salary of £50k, it would actually cost £57k. I suppose they needed to pay for the refurbishments at the Houses of Parliament, and MP's second homes in Dolphin Square.
At the time we didn’t realise it would become as big as it did. The age-old line about acorns and oak trees was so true - everything big starts small somewhere.
These days, being an employee is somewhat archaic. Nowadays we hire in the skills we need and pay for them as we go. People are no longer wage slaves working a 40-hour week for a company. We are now simply paid for quality output and results.
Occasionally we reminisce about office politics and the appalling bosses we used to have. It was incredible the way so many unsuitable people rose to the top as a result of deranged personalities and psychotic belief mechanisms.
That only exists in Government now, and even world leaders are starting to admit their human frailties. It must have started at the first Covid outbreak, Trump’s demise, and the realisation that boasting and bullying were highly unattractive traits. The fall-out lasted for ages, but we had a great time reinventing a better world, and a smarter way to earn a living.
We've made work a better place to be. It's more interesting and enlightening - so sit tight and it will be with you sooner than you think.