I know. It’s truly shocking. Okay forgive the sarcasm but the truth is, the W-4 is not the constitution…come on people, let’s look at the future of job creation. We have two current truths that point to a need for change in economic measurement:
- Freelancing is on the rise
- Freelancing is not going away
To the first, and as we have mentioned in other posts…freelancing is increasing year over year. Freelancers, consultants, and temps make up 25% of the workforce. In fact, America’s new workforce is growing at twice the rate of traditional employees! (1)
If you talk to any economic development council, committee, or group…they will pull job creation numbers from W-4 tracking a la company methods. This used to make sense in the wake of the Industrial Revolution, WWII, and the New Deal…but those days are long behind us. A lot has changed since then like…gee I don’t know…the invention of the computer!
Now our workforce is a huge mix of big companies, small companies, and one-man shows. The problem is, one-man shows aren’t getting much attention. Freelancers slide along, under the economic radar, and Heaven forbid they don’t pay Uncle Sam an arm and a leg for creating their own work! That’s a story for another day…but yes…freelancing is growing and it’s not going away!
Technology has blessed (maybe cursed) us with laptops, ipads, iphones, ipods…i-losetrackofitall… We can run profitable companies from a one-foot screen. We can have two tons of product shipped from Tokyo in 5 seconds flat! We can share screens, photos, messages, everything…in one click! We can order egg rolls, shop for shoes, call the queen (ok maybe her angry spammed receptionist), and spam all of our friends with cutesy kitten photos…all before lunch!
The reality is that as long as the web continuously enables to do business and do it well…we will continue to find ways around the traditional punch-in, punch-out work structure. This is a good thing, especially for all you corporate haters out there! But the truth is, these jobs are not getting credit for value creation and that’s just twisted.
Let me put it this way: By working for myself, I create economic value because I’m creating supply and fulfilling demand, through product or services. Also, I am leaving some job open. By not working at Starbucks, Starbucks can hire someone else to be their barista. This might not seem significant, but when you look at 1/4 of the workforce…it seems a little…notable.
Maybe if we start learning how to measure this value, we’ll get the guys in Washington to pay attention and make the process a little bit easier. Only by that time we’ll be taxed on our white jumpsuits and space ships so there’ll be a whole new puzzle to solve…
Here at Blue Ocean, we celebrate the life of the freelancer by running a full-amenity co-working center in the land of the Big Sky...Bozeman, MT. We would love to connect with you! Get in touch here.