Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives
Free agency in Generation X/Y: Dan Pink was right.

The New York Times has a great article today called Youthful Attitudes, Sobering Realities, which is all about the way that the current 20-to-34 set (that would be me, thanks) tends to think about careers. Basically, all of the pooh-poohing and self-congratulatory cackling that some economists and sociologists made against Dan Pink's Free Agent Nation following the dotcom collapse has been shown to have been either premature or flat-out wrong.

The article nails, at the very least, my way of thinking right on the head:

Because of an unsettled economy and an employment market that has not been kind to these workers, they think there is no reward for loyalty and are reluctant to make long-term commitments. Though they have been called disloyal and unwilling to pay their dues, the reality is that they are adapting to a workplace in which "corporations broke the old arrangement unilaterally," Professor Cappelli said. "They've seen what's gone on with their parents' generation, and a lack of trust in the corporation is a perfectly rational response to that."

This lack of trust is giving rise to another phenomenon, a sense of free agency among young workers who expect to create lifetime careers not with one or two companies, but as independent contractors, selling their services on a project basis to many employers. Each new job is a new negotiation — for pay, obviously, but also for control of the working environment, balance between work and private life and training for the next job.

Yep, nailed that one exactly. There's a reason I'm currently working as a self-employed consultant, thankyouverymuch.

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