The Employee of 2021 & 2121
Based off of my experience as a Freelance employee for the last 8 years, and my education in the history of technology, the following blog outlines the future of employment, from the year 2021 to 2121…
We are no longer working in the salt mines. Machines now mine for us. In the near future (approx. 100 years from now), repetitive tasks and basic human necessities will be taken over by automation and robots. This automation will begin to pay for our living expenses through a robot tax. The most important human necessities will be covered for us, such as; food supply, housing, clothing, energy, transportation, and communication.
We will be able to stay at home and work on the things we love and enjoy, such as Humanities, Arts, Science …including more creative aspects of carpentry & woodworking. Our brains will spend less time on mindless repetitive tasks, and more time on analytical, creative, thoughtful tasks.
Have you ever worked on something you love? Have you ever noticed how time flies when you are working on something you love? …how you spent more energy on this without hesitation? You just made it happen, and nobody told you to do it, you just acted on curiosity, love, and passion. Next thing you know, you built an entire rollercoaster out of popsicle sticks!
Our brains will begin to spend an exponentially increased amount of new energy because we are now working on something we love. Now consider how this increased effort will affect the collective contribution across the globe, and ultimately the universe. Our minds are now collectively contributing to the universe with energy built off of curiosity, passion, interest, and ultimately …love.
Based on the Theory of Relativity, E=MC2. This increase in additional positive energy will reward us in ways we can’t even imagine.
For those skeptics that think this will kill capitalism, capitalism will still exist. People will still want to spend money on luxuries, people will be able to sell their ideas. Those who choose to live a capitalistic life of abundance can still do so. But the basic necessities are covered. Consider all the time in humanity leading up to this point, has been built over time in order to cover these basic necessities. And we will thank capitalism for some of that.
But how do we get there?
We are no longer working in the salt mines. Thanks to the advent of the internet, we all have the ability to work from home. It has already begun. The days of sitting in traffic, commuting back and fourth each day just to show face, while your boss controls your body from 9am to 5pm, are no longer. You have the ability to choose when you want to contribute your value. And as COVID19 has highlighted, you can now conduct your work from wherever you want.
Unless you are working in tangible goods, there is no longer a need to be at a physical space to conduct your business. …But remember, in a matter of years, those robots will be there to build those tangible goods.
Yes, we will have to conduct meetings at an agreed time, but if you need to ask me a question, I am available 24/7 with the tap of your thumbs.
Plus, who’s to say most meetings are actually effective? There are many modern task-management tools that have proven to be innovative enough to replace what we used to know as “the meeting”. No longer do you have to gather around a table and divy tasks, Trello can do that. No longer do we all need to sit through a presentation all at the same time, YouTube can do that. This can all be done electronically, at your own leisure.
As a freelance worker (and as a huge procrastinator), I discovered that I was more effective later in the evening. I would wake up at 10am, I would take the morning and afternoon to get started, run errands, watch TV, but once 1pm came around, my procrastination-nation wore off, and it was time to work. And I would work off and on until 2am. I didn’t need time to wind down after work, my wind down time was actually my wind UP time, in the morning.
And even though I didn’t start busy-work until 1p, I would still attend every meeting, even those 7am meetings. And I made myself available to my clients 24/7. So yes, you can say that I am now on-call 24 hours a day, but it‘s the least I could offer... The benefits I received by working at my own leisure, far outweighed the few minutes I took out of my off-time to answer questions or hold meetings to respect other client’s/co-worker’s schedules.
I can now choose what part of the day my brain can be most-effective. And if a personal issue occurs last minute, then I am able to handle it at the moment, then add more work-hours later in the day or add them to the next day. This is the true beauty to working on your own terms.
Lastly, we need a paradigm shift in the way we think about the straight 8-hour work-day. I believe hourly pay is still a great measurement tool for repayment. But the idea of clocking in 8 hours doesn’t mean all of those 8 hours were effective hours. Some days we simply arent productive. I would much rather clock in 8 highly effective hours, spread throughout the day or throughout several days. If I’m having a difficult day, I would rather stop immediately and come back the next day to try again, or dedicate a few hours on the weekend to make up lost time. No need to beat a dead horse just in the name of “clocking in 8 hours”.
We have yet to see if the 4 day work-week is an optimal strategy, the jury is still out on this. But what I think is important to note, is the notion of making our hours that we do spend working… extremely effective. If we were to survey how many hours-per-week are actually spent productively, I would argue the result would be approximately 32 hours.
The employee of 2021 will begin to realize that their time at home is precious, that providing value can be done at any time of the day, at any point on earth (with internet). We will set our own work conditions & terms of employment. We will begin to move away from the urban area, spread out to suburbs, and offices will turn into venues for on-site team-building workshops that we will attend 1–4 times a year. Housing will become affordable, and traffic will sieze to exist.
Over time, this newfound freedom from the salt mines will continue to expand, and society will begin to focus on the things they are passionate about. If there is anything that COVID19 has shown us, it’s that mankind is fully capable of maintaining productivity from the comfort of our own home. It is now up to us to determine how fast we progress into this enevitable economic utopia.