Back in 2001 Dan Pink popularized the term, “Free Agent Nation” when he published his book of the same name, “Free Agent Nation: The Future of Working For Yourself”. I read this book as I was taking the leap from the corporate world in the spring of 2002, aged 39, becoming a free agent myself to pursue a portfolio career.
Whether we call it free agency, a portfolio career, free-lancing or the gig-economy, 15 years later, not only do I love it but the latest data suggests that more and more of you do as well and that it is a trend which will continue:
- People + Strategy Magazine (Summer 2016): The Gig Economy: A Disruptor Requiring HR Agility (Nick Horney)
- Deloitte Insights (July 2017): Navigating the Future of Work – Can We Point Business, Workers and Social Institutions in the Same Direction? including a video:
- Chief Learning Officer Magazine (October 2017): Is Your Learning Organization AGILITY FIT? (Nick Horney)
As you can see above, one of my Agility Consulting & Training colleagues, founder and principal Nick Horney, is a thought leader in this space, articulating how this trend challenges AGILITY from multiple angles. As outlined in the Deloitte article above it begs questions about the implications from 3 intersecting perspectives:
- Individuals – what does this mean for careers and prosperity?
- Organizations – what does this mean for staffing, recruitment and retention?
- Public Policy – what does this mean for legal and regulatory policies?
Individuals need to set their sights on longer careers, with multiple stages, each involving ongoing training and reskilling (Deloitte Insights Magazine)
From the Individiuals perspective, I find myself having this conversation with more and more people in their 40s and 50s who are exploring their career options and introducing them to the concept of a “Portfolio Career”. Indeed, as recently as last week, one of my coaching clients was stepping off the ledge, leaving behind the apparent security of the known (what we call a career made up of employment in a succession of jobs) into the unknown. What we call a portfolio career of free agents and free lancers going independent and comprising the gig-economy. Coincidentally, also aged 39 like I was, following his sense of possibility, passion and purpose and developing his independence, not least of all financially.
I am helping him shed light on the unknown, developing the know-how for the on-ramp to his new future. It will test his agility as it has mine, but I did it very successfully and I know he can too. Not least of all, I have no doubt he will experience same sense of luck that I did.
In my work on AGILITY I educate people that luck is huge in agility – it is one of 5 key attributes of agility to change your relationship with – from luck by accident (which is usually bad) to luck by design (which is usually good). In other words, “Luck is where preparation meets opportunity” kind of thing. The trouble is that the majority of people are woefully under-prepared. They aren’t setting their sights on longer careers, with multiple stages, each involving ongoing training and reskilling.
One of my clients is right on-trend with this pattern, helping train and reskill more and more people to have the know-how, preparing themselves to have options in their future: Online Trading Academy. Read more: Speaking at the Online Trading Academy Annual Conference.