World-renowned business management expert Charles. Charles Handy’s book “The Elephant and the Flea” (The Elephant and the Flea) compares the corporate workplace and freelance workers to elephants and fleas respectively, and explains the employment culture centered on freelance workers. In 2001, he put forward such a proposition: We should not rely on large-scale organizations, but should become talents who can play their own roles and exert their strengths.
Of course, very few people actively accepted his arguments at that time, even for Charles. Handy’s vision of the future resonates deeply, but it is still difficult to separate from large corporate organizations and accept the life of a freelance worker. However, as time passed, some people began to pursue independence on his behalf. The reason why we wait for the same company and buy a house for a long time is not because of instinct, but because of the employment system, lifestyle and social desires at that time. These days, a lifetime career is no longer expected, nor realistically possible.
In the past, in order to secure and maintain a stable labor force, it was necessary to deploy full-time employees. This is not only the demand of workers, but also an indispensable part of enterprises. Employers sign contracts with workers on the condition that they work all day on weekdays and pay wages on a monthly basis. However, the atmosphere has gradually changed now. In the employment market, freelance workers are more popular than full-time employees. The gig economy has clearly occupied a place in the entire industry. This result reflects the orientation of enterprises.
In the past, when you mentioned freelance work, you would think of specific fields, such as writing, design, program development, and so on. But now, no matter what field you are in, you can become a freelancer, because the concept of a full-time job is gradually fading, and it can even be said that the employment of regular employees is coming to an end.
In addition to the term “freelance worker”, various names such as self-employed person, part-time worker, and one-person business are also used. If it does not develop well, it is called a one-man enterprise, and if it does not develop well, it is called a freelancer. The so-called “freelance worker” refers to the free state of not being limited to the same workplace, but signing contracts individually according to needs. Their liberty is also the liberty with the greatest risk, because if they are not capable, they will face a fatal crisis. Since everyone can accept short-term employment, it can be said that this system has created more jobs; conversely, it can also be said that this system has resulted in the emergence of a large number of cheap labor. The beneficiaries of the sharing economy are only enterprises. livelihood has become more difficult.
In the employment market, the union of full-time employees continues to decline. Traditional industries are laying off full-time employees due to the decline, while emerging industries are relying on technological progress to reduce manpower requirements. At the end of the day, we all end up living as freelancers and gig workers, even the most capable, whether we want to or not. When artificial intelligence and automation replace most of the manpower, the final composition of the labor market will be a small number of formal employees and a majority of freelance workers.
In fact, such a trend has long been formed. In today’s era, it is difficult for us to dream of being hired by someone as a regular employee. Either start your own business or become a one-person business, and in the end, we all have to build our own independent foundations on our own. Competent freelancers can actually earn more income than full-time employees.
Xue Zhaofeng, a professor at Peking University’s National School of Development, opened “Xue Zhaofeng’s Lectures on Economics at Peking University” on the Chinese knowledge sharing app “Get” in December 2017, and regularly uploaded videos of his personal lectures. The annual subscription fee for this channel is RMB 199 (approximately NT$888). After half a year, in August 2017, the number of paid subscriptions exceeded 170,000. By March 2018, the number of subscribers exceeded 250,000. Based on 250,000 people, the income from subscriptions alone is as high as 50 million RMB (equivalent to NT$223 million). Xue Zhaofeng has become an Internet celebrity in China.
Law economics and political economy are his research areas, and through lectures on economics, he has created a very substantial market for paid content. In 2018, Xue Zhaofeng resigned from his position as a professor. He chose to give up his stable job and join the ranks of freelancers. In China, many professors have gradually become opinion leaders on the Internet.
Are full-time employees really the best option in today’s environment? Do freelancers just have a hard time? The changing world means we have to rethink our way of life and our views on career. The dichotomy that the full-time job is dominant and the freelancer is at a disadvantage should be removed from the existing impression. In the past, individuals always depended on the organization to live, but now we can take our own value and become independent from the organization.
Businesses cannot provide us with a lifelong workplace, and maximizing our own value while working is quite beneficial to both the company and the individual. The purpose of our work is not only for the company, but to reflect the ability expected by the company to the greatest extent, and then further enhance personal value. Just as employees are a tool of the business, the business is also a tool for the individual. After all, hiring your own one-man business will become one of the indispensable options in the future. The core of a one-person enterprise is not “one person”, but the so-called “enterprise”. In other words, the focus is not on the number of people working, but on having value like a business, earning corresponding income, and possessing personal commodity.
Future topics related to work, such as the end of a career, the end of a full-time job, and the end of labor, all have the same direction. There are still some people who blindly believe in the employment culture of the 19th or 20th century and choose to rely on the formal staffing system of large workplaces. They ignore the changes of the times, are comfortable with the traditions of the past, and think that is all they know, and stubbornly stick to the old system. Will familiar things and long-standing culture be applicable in the future? The world has changed. If you still can’t get rid of the past, will you be eliminated?
If there was one thing to pinpoint that has disappeared as a result of the coronavirus, it’s the office. The form of commuting to and from get off work has been replaced by home office, and it is evolving into a “work-from-anywhere” type.
This is the view put forward by Professor Linda Gretten of the London Business School. She is the author of “The Shift: The Future of Work Is Already Here” and “Life Strategies at 100,” and an expert on ongoing labor and career studies.
If all employees work from home, it will more clearly highlight who is the core talent for high performance. After the COVID-19 pandemic is over, companies will begin to simplify their organizations.
That’s the argument put forward by former Morgan Stanley chief economist Tse Kwok-chung. He predicted the Asian foreign exchange crisis in 1997 and the global financial crisis in 2008, and currently acts independently as an economic expert.
In 2021, artificial intelligence and automation will officially appear in your workplace.
That’s the prediction of Manny Maceda, chief executive of global management consulting firm Bain & Company.
All three are leading experts in business and business strategy, and all predict job losses as home-working and automation expand. In fact, not only they have this point of view, but many experts in South Korea, including the author, have made similar claims. This means that the future has gradually become a reality, and the number of jobs has officially shrunk, and organizational simplification, in which only capable employees can survive, is bound to become a hot topic in 2021. It is impossible to expand the reduced positions again, and the fierce competition that only those with strength can stay will be staged fairly in the workplace.
In the past, talents pursued a lifelong career and hoped to work stably for a long time. On the contrary, today’s talents pay more attention to the possibility of personal growth and a good working environment. Therefore, enterprises must provide employees with opportunities for self-development and create a comfortable environment so that employees can work remotely or work from home. In addition, transparent performance evaluation is also an indispensable condition. These are all to ensure retention. Can live with talents. There are so many job seekers, but it is always difficult to find those with excellent abilities. After all, in order to ensure outstanding talents, companies have to change the type of work. Whether it is technological evolution, the impact of the new crown epidemic, or the requirements for talents, the overall trend is the same. In other words, we cannot stop the future trend, and the world of survival of the fittest will eventually come.
Those who are good at migrating survive
National barriers have disappeared, and language and cultural barriers have been reduced to levels that cannot be compared with the past. When working in front of the computer, we can no longer tell whether we are in Seoul, New York or Chiang Mai, whether we are at a desk, a coffee shop, or on a Mercedes-Benz train. With regular videoconferencing, geographical distinctions no longer make sense whether colleagues are in front of me, in the next office, or in another country. Through computers and smart phones, we can connect with any place in the world, and we can also contact anyone in the world.
In today’s era, almost all work is done using computers, and all business is handled through the Internet. That is to say, there is no difference in the ability to perform business when a laptop connected to the Internet is placed on the desk of the company, and on the desk in your own home, coffee shop or hotel room; even if you are in a different country, the ability to work is the same. will not make a difference. Such a pattern will allow people with good conditions to obtain more employment opportunities, and the era of occupations that can do this and the era when they must have this ability has begun. The so-called “Location Independent” (Location Independent) is used to describe this kind of talent, which means that they can “unrestricted by location and exert their working ability.” Digital nomadism, geographical freedom and independent work, these three are the basic qualities that future people need to possess.
However, geographical freedom does not mean that people must move around and cannot settle in the same place. There is a difference between being able to work and not doing it, and being unable to do it and giving up. If you want to be able to conduct business anywhere regardless of country, region, and location, you must be familiar with the digital and network-based smart work environment. Secondly, it has to be independent of the organization and be able to develop productivity and operate business activities independently. Only in this way will the survivability become stronger. In addition, the job position does not have to be static, because even those who advocate the distinction between high and low occupations must have jobs that they prefer or prefer.
“Nomadic” originally referred to the nomadic peoples who raised animals in Central Asia, Mongolia and other places and lived by water and grass. However, the French philosopher Gilles. In Différence et répétition (Différence et répétition), Deleuze explained “Nomadism” as a philosophical concept, which means not sticking to specific values and ways of life, constantly negating oneself in order to find new self. Later, for people, “nomadic” not only represented nomads who wandered around, but also referred to people who were restless in one place and constantly moved in order to pursue themselves.
German futurist Gong Duola. In the book “Working Nomads” (Jobnomaden), Gundula Englisch defined digital nomads; French sociologist Jacques Jacques Attali defined the 21st century as the era of digital nomads in the book “Digital Nomad” (L’hommenomade). In Europe, where many lands are connected, crossing borders is relatively easy, and where language barriers are relatively small, it is easy to move between countries and find work. Therefore, digital nomads are also called “European digital nomads”, or “commercial nomads”. But this concept has now been applied all over the world.
In fact, digital nomads can have two completely opposite explanations: one is a person who has excellent ability and is often poached, so he actively switches jobs to give full play to his talents; the other is a person who has no choice but to look around for job vacancies and income in order to make a living part-time and freelance workers. Although both belong to digital nomads, the situation is completely different. Ultimately, the difference between the two also depends on strength and competitiveness.
Here, “migration” is not the core point, but the focus is on “spontaneous migration”, that is, one can exert one’s own abilities and carry out economic and social activities anywhere without being restricted by places, regions, and countries. The concept of digital nomads may have little impact on current office workers, but when their children enter the workplace, “geographical freedom” may no longer be an option, but a necessary quality.
If you want to work and earn money in any corner of the world, there are two ways:
First, contacting domestic enterprises through the Internet in foreign countries is equivalent to a kind of remote work. Regardless of the location, even if you are in New York or Paris, you can also cooperate with domestic companies. Whether it is writing, design, or IT development, they can communicate with each other through the Internet. This type of work is also applicable in Korea, and it does not require people to be in foreign countries to implement it. The working process is the same as when I was in China, only the living environment has changed. Anyway, you have to spend living expenses in Seoul. The same amount is actually the same when you use it in Seoul or in other countries or cities. If you want to achieve the above goals, you must be able to earn the same income abroad as you do at home. Of course, the money you earn can also be lower than your domestic salary, as long as you live in a place where prices are lower than your home country.
Second, no matter which country you go to, you can cooperate with companies in that country, that is, find a job locally to make money, or start a business. IT developers and designers are especially prevalent among freelancers and digital nomads, as both are less affected by language barriers and can use the same computers and software no matter which country they work in. It is not necessary to pursue proficiency in foreign languages, as long as you are familiar with daily conversations. This method is more beneficial for software development, design, video and other fields where clear works can be presented.
In the final analysis, the above two methods both focus on language and technology. What kind of things need to be learned, the answer is ready to come out. No matter how good translation software comes out, it is still more advantageous for people who are familiar with a certain level of foreign language. And including programming, the understanding of new technologies will be the foundation of all work.
In addition, openness is the most indispensable thing for Koreans who aspire to be digital nomads. In elementary school, middle school, and high school, we have studied for 12 years in an environment of cramming education and orders from superiors. In this educational environment, it is natural to adapt to collectivism and obey discipline. Living in a country with a single ethnicity, the attitude towards foreigners and the language are somewhat closed. Young people in Europe look at the world and plan their careers and futures, but we only make plans according to our own domestic conditions. First of all, we must break this framework.
Recently, more and more foreigners are digital nomads in Seoul. From a global perspective, Seoul ranks among the top cities for digital nomads. Depending on the point of view, for some, South Korea could be Hell North Korea, or it could be the perfect country for digital nomadism. Although we cannot decide which country we were born in, we can decide which country we want to live in. In the final analysis, getting rid of closedness and having an open mind is the starting point of the road to digital nomads.
For people with economic independence and openness, national borders will no longer be barriers, where to work, who to make friends with, and form a family. Everything in today’s era is different from the older generation, and the future life of children in this way. So, what exactly should we teach our children? What kind of qualifications and abilities should we develop for them? In the end, they are still so-called “vocational students”. It is better to teach a child how to fish than to give him fish to eat.