Friday, March 05, 2010

Changing 'workplace' dynamics

I like to read cranky futurists on There's a section (after the super annoying hand-clapping intro!) called "Culture Pulse" which is a very knocked-down version of what they're thinking about.

In February 2010 they posted an article (.pdf) by Richard Donkin out of The Guardian on employment law. Interesting, less-than-4 page read.

The article ends with this last, bullet-point(ish) -- emphasis added by me:

Entrepreneurship: Opportunities to start up your own business, create partnerships or work freelance will blossom. "It will become difficult for employers to hold on to their key staff, who will realise they can earn more working freelance or setting up their own networks of ad hoc working relationships," [Ian] Pearson says ['futurist']. "So entrepreneurial skills will be key." (p. 4)

Got me thinking: What if 'the workplace' and 'career' are replaced with the uncertain & highly volatile "networks of ad hoc working relationships." Will 'social networking' skills cross-over in the same way 'people skills' are cross-vocational? Will having existing 'social networking capital' (i.e. a long-standing, highly invested-in social-networking presence [read: Facebook- or Twitter- or Google Buzz- account]) become valuable like a degree or alumni association or recruiter or ____ is today?

Gen-X is, according to most historians and culture observers, a 'stuck' generation: what they invested in (mid-to-late 1900's education, buy everything on-loan [called "leverage"], family & social (& financial) values/morals) doesn't have a positive return - made even more frustrating by the fact that the generations before them DO have a positive return on those same investments while at the same time the Gen-Xers are taking a loss.

Blah, blah, blah... all that to say, I wonder if those of us (i.e. ME!) who don't really like social-networking are going to find ourselves sad and frustrated when we realize that we should have been investing in something we don't care for (social networking).

As one of the last Gen-Xers (age-wise), am I going to find my current as well as future 'investments' are losses?!?!

[or have I simply commodified relationships in a 1980's sort of way!!]

No comments: