Whether or not the “gig” or “freelance” economy will forever change the way we work remains to be seen. There is little doubt, however, that many traditional career paths are evolving. The growing number of freelance jobs, the globalization of many industries and Millennial attitudes about work are key parts of the story. Where do “Boomers” and “Gen X’ers” fit in?
Most articles, like the following from Forbes, lay out the situation well, but primarily cover the impact on Millennials (see Larry Alton, Workplace Changes Are Accelerating: Why And What Millennials Should Do About It).
Millennials are indeed impacted by the changing nature of work, but they are not alone. The millions of people leaving full-time work every year are finding more often than not that the “gig” economy is in fact a big part of their story. Even more so as they take advantage of the growing availability of flexible jobs and volunteer gigs to make a little extra money, stay socially engaged or share their experience.
And that is the rub. Millennials and Boomers are increasingly running into each other in the job market (see the B plot of Ladybird). Some are predicting an “age war,” with Boomers marketing their much greater experience against the perceived energy and tech savvy of Millennials.
I tend to agree with a growing number of journalists, like Tom Gimble in Fortune, who argue there is the potential for harmony.
If we are thoughtful, we can create a future where the generations are working closely together not just in the non-profit sector, but at companies that will benefit by combining the skills and lessons of an older generation with the innovative energy and tech awareness of an up and coming generation.
Now that’s an exciting future.
All the best,
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