Independent Contractors, Independent Consultants, Freelancers, Free agents: this day is for you.
Whether you are free of traditional employment by choice, or one of the millions of reluctant independent contractors (people laid-off and out of a traditional job), you will get to see economic recovery before anyone else does.
It is us who will be at the front of the economic recovery because we Free Agents can move the quickest to the next thing. People who are still employed in traditional permanent full-time jobs are likely stay-put due to fears from the “great recession”.
America’s Free Agents represent a huge talent pool ready to apply knowledge and skills to nearly any need that the world economy demands. We are the first responders. We are the ones who are free to do the next thing. The things we do will be the results of innovation that add value to customers’ lives more efficiently and more effectively than anything before.
For me, Labor Day is a symbol of employment relationships of the 19th and 20th centuries, which are inflexibile and economically inefficient.
The bottom line is, when companies try to bind employees into long-term dependency, it creates friction in the economy because talent (people) cannot move freely from one company to another. The same is true of labor unions. Every time a labor union extracts some commitment or work practice restriction from the employer, it limits the employer’s ability to respond to demands of the market. (I am not talking about work practice restrictions for the purpose of safety, which are really important. I am talking about restrictions that attempt to preserve specific jobs, without considering the evolotuion of work and essentially force the employer into maintaining a fixed expense.)
Employment restrictions at the company level are the same as trade restrictions at the country level. Imagine what our country would be like if there was no trade with other countries and we had to make everything ourselves and deliver all services by ourselves. (Think Cuba and North Korea even though they actually have some trade.) We would have much less diversity in available goods and services, and all of it would be more expensive.
As traditional employment in America crumbles, a new more flexible powerhouse will emerge. And I guarantee you, we are going to make and do some things than no one imagined.
This is not national pride or cheerleading. It is an easily predictable economic phenomenon.
For now, I wish everyone well, as we do what we need to do, to endure the current recession. I don’t know if it will end in a year or five years. But it will end. So get yourself ready for one cool ride.