21st Century Sweatshop

21stcenturyofficeweb

In the 21st century, you can easily put in a grueling 10 hour work day without ever leaving your home. Sometimes the biggest problem is pacing yourself. You can get involved in solving a knotty design problem and work non-stop for hours on end. Interruptions are few and they come mostly from four-footed members of the family who are checking if its time to be fed again.

The availability of fresh air and sunshine does wonders for my peace of mind and my morale. Under these conditions I am able to produce more work for my clients now than I ever could in a cubicle farm or even in my own private corporate office.

At the same time, I can find time to have coffee with friends or clients on a moments notice, if I want to.

I make sure that I spend at least 20% of my time marketing my services or thinking up new services to exchange for income. The absence of forced commuting gives me two to three hours of extra time every day for work, study or relaxation.

As a self-employed entrepreneur, I have no corporate safety net, no corporate insurance, but I don’t have layers of inert or timid management to placate either.

When I was employed, even though I considered myself a top performer in
my particular area, I worried constantly about corporate changes that
would result in loss of income. The biggest discovery on leaving the
corporate world was realizing how illusory the corporate safety
actually was.

Many executives and ordinary employees are only 90 days
away from having to find another job. After 50, this can be a real
challenge and last up to 18 months.

I can call the shots and bear the responsibility of being wrong or
being right on target without the immense burden of trying to deal with
increasingly frightened senior management who don’t really know what
they want, but "they’ll know it when they see it."

My clients are also self-employed so they can make decisions quickly
and they are clear about their priorities and their concerns. The net
result is that the balance of execution time to planning time is almost
ten to one.

In the corporate projects I was involved in, the planning and
supervision time was usually equal to and sometimes greater then the
execution time. That kind of corporate activity shoots the overhead
costs through the roof. There is so much checking and assessing and
rechecking and testing the political waters that progress of any kind
is quite slow in large corporations.

As an army of one,or two or three, you might find yourself
overextended, but the ratio of productive to non-productive time is so
great that your efficiency often makes up for your lack of resources
and your lack of corporate stature.

You might as well get good at being a small business owner because
that is increasingly becoming the way to guarantee yourself a lifetime
job.

The freedom to decide what you are going to work on and when you are
going to do the work is becoming a compelling argument for self
employment for more and more people.

There is plenty of work out here, by the way. You just have to learn
how to find it and produce what is needed and wanted. It isn’t rocket
science.

This entry was posted in Basic Business Concepts, Doing What You Love, Micro-Business, post-corporate, The Changing Workplace and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to 21st Century Sweatshop

  1. Charles says:

    Any tips on “You just have to learn how to find it”, or advice on where to start looking for this information?

    Thanks

  2. Excellent question! I have written many posts about this and it is in my book, Danger Quicksand – Have A Nice Day, but I’ll address it again in my next post.

  3. Mary Beth says:

    You and Gretchen are “en fuego”! A joy to behold.

  4. Shawn says:

    Good post. I wish I KNEW what it is I wanted to really do though. I write a self-employment/entrepreneur blog, and it seems that in between ventures I never know what it is I really want! Maybe I have a short attention span.

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