830-630 white collar city job, 50 minute commute, 10 story building, 25 days holiday a year, and a suit. In 2016, unfortunately, this is the status quo of London working life. Your working life is judged on a two scaled axis, where you work, and how many hours you spend there. An eyebrow may be raised for those of you who labour 13 hours of the day in Bank, but let’s be real – what do you actually do? Are the bags under your eyes a symbol of success? Does anyone know your name or recognise your input? As we live in a world of corporations, and not individual people, as long as you drop in a “big name” and then moan about your hours then your fine. From an outsider’s perspective you are successful.
For many of us city slaves, the London life isn’t for us, but you have to adhere to this lifestyle or else compromise your career. There is an unwritten rule that you simply cannot be a successful banker wanker in a Cornwall coastal cottage, because you don’t have a Bloomberg terminal there. You cannot write corporate contracts on a boat in Cannes because there are no board rooms, where would your team sit? Work life balance is a personal sacrifice that you have to make if you want the cash. We work for a company, not ourselves, and we will do what the company says. You rent a flat because it is on a trustworthy tube line that will get you to your office before the sun rises. You can go on holiday when your other team members are not going on holiday, so work can be equally dispersed. Every aspect of your life is determined around a corporation.
Well this is all about to change.
Machines and managers are about to unite, and the internet is going to eliminate all of the “Status Quo” constraints. Machines, believe it or not, are going to take over all of the mundane monitoring and processing jobs. Robots and information systems will do the routine tasks for us, freeing up time and opportunity for us humans to focus on strategic, emotional and creative activities. Today the best paid jobs are financial managers, lawyers, brokers, marketing directors, and mining and energy officials. All of these jobs have set “locations” where their work prospers, and society has preconceived ideas about the set “time” that must be spent each day to excel in them. The best paid jobs in 2030 are predicted to be 3D printing body part makers, vertical crop farmers, avatar managers, and digital architects. These jobs are not situated in zone 1 London skyscrapers, and they don’t require 13 hours of day of slaving at a desk with no lunch break. They don’t even require a tie.
The difference about the jobs of the future, and the workforce of the future, is that people will not compromise their career for their living circumstances. People will not be judged on the “corporation” they work for, but by the work they produce. People will chose projects that suit their skills and that they want to engage in, in a working style relative to their home environment.
Various crowdsourcing internet marketplaces are already setting up the stepping stones of change for us millennials, allowing individual workers to choose what projects they want to do, and when they want to do it. Companies like Amazon, Crowd Flower, Click Worker and Crowd Tap have developed online job boards, allowing workers to complete tasks for money. Internal qualification systems have been implemented to grade workers, allowing good workers with a history of completing tasks well to access higher paid tasks. Typical tasks include processing photos, videos, taking surveys, reviewing email marketing and products, and completion of a task will result in anything between 5p and £10 being paid instantly into your account. These platforms are the middlemen for employees and employers, where the sofa is your desk, and your dressing gown is your suit.
As more specialised online job marketplaces evolve, it will create streams of skilled virtual workforces. Society will transform from an oligopoly of corporations, to a network of talented individuals. And when this happens we will no longer be obliged to live in an overpopulated city within 5 minutes of the central line, and we will take holiday when we want. As long as there is wifi, there is a job. So to all you city slaves, with your coffee breath and your big eye bags, don’t fear. The future is flexible, it is only a matter of time.