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Businesses Technology

How Technology Is Increasing the Number of Jobs We Have (theguardian.com) 258

An anonymous reader writes: An article at The Guardian takes a look at the way in which we hold jobs as technology as changes. Its central thesis is this: "My father had one job in his life, I've had six in mine, my kids will have six at the same time." This may compress the generational changes a bit, but it's an interesting point; the average time people spend at one job has been trending downward for a long time. As technology enables the so-called "gig economy" (or "sharing economy," if you prefer), we're seeing many more people start to hold multiple jobs, working whichever one happens to give them something to do at a given time. Economist Jeremy Rifkin says, "This sharing economy is reestablishing the commons in a hi-tech landscape. Commons came about when people formed communities by taking the meager resources they had and sharing then to create more value. The method of regulation of these systems is also comparable. If people are trusted and vouched for they are accepted as part of the sharing economy group. If they behave badly they are excluded. Your social capital means everything in this new economy."
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How Technology Is Increasing the Number of Jobs We Have

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 30, 2015 @09:53AM (#51026037)

    And at what point can we reevaluate this and say "six jobs at one time is not a job, it's being taken advantage of". If everyone is complicit in it then it's nothing but being taken advantage of by mob mentality.

    I hardly find that reassuring.

    • by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Monday November 30, 2015 @10:08AM (#51026111)

      In the US? Probably never. You'll be demonized as a "socialist". And there are very few things in the US that are more hated and distrusted than socialists.

    • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Monday November 30, 2015 @10:35AM (#51026265)

      And at what point can we reevaluate this and say "six jobs at one time is not a job, it's being taken advantage of".

      It's not being taken advantage of. It's called being a freelancer. There is lots of work in the world that does not require being in a single place for 40+ hours each week. Just because it is different doesn't mean it is worse or that you are being taken advantage of. I've held as many as 3-4 "jobs" at a given time. It's normal if you are a freelancer.

      I don't pretend to know what the future will look like but the one thing I'm certain of is that it won't look like today. The job market your parents had isn't the one you will have and the one your kids will have will be different still. Get used to it.

      • I worked more than 1 job before. IT SUCKS??!

        I never felt so humiliated and a slave and my body shutdown. My blood vessels were bursting at the soles of my feet and heels. In torture you always sleep deprieve the victim. So in essence it is torture for the poor folks stuck being taken advantage of.

        • I worked more than 1 job before. IT SUCKS??!

          When I was in college I worked two jobs, competed in Division 1 sports and got an engineering degree, all simultaneously. After grad school I started a consulting company and had multiple active clients at any given time. Right now I work a full time job, coach two youth sports teams during the winter and am very active on the board of a non-profit. My wife currently works as a MD at up to 3 different hospitals/labs in a given week. My mother worked a full time job, often a second part time job, got h

      • It means you have absolutely no security. No benefits, no paid time off, etc. None of this is conducive to a proper work/life balance.

        This is fine when you are single and have a safety net to fall back on. But that doesn't work when hard times hit and you have no net and/or you have a family.
        • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Monday November 30, 2015 @12:05PM (#51026939)

          It means you have absolutely no security.

          You can have plenty of job security as a freelancer just so long as you do something valuable. If what you are doing isn't very valuable then you won't have any job security no matter where you are working.

          No benefits, no paid time off, etc. None of this is conducive to a proper work/life balance.

          Welcome to being an entrepreneur. You want time off? You earn enough to take some time. You want work/life balance? You earn it. Sometimes getting there requires working pretty hard for a while. You talk about work/life balance as if it is something you are entitled to have rather than something you earn. There's nothing wrong with working for someone else but very few people can earn a substantial income without a lot of time, effort and risk.

          This is fine when you are single and have a safety net to fall back on. But that doesn't work when hard times hit and you have no net and/or you have a family.

          Working for a company won't protect you when hard times hit. In fact it tends to create a false sense of security. It's up to you to build a safety net. And having a family does not preclude starting a company or working for yourself. I've experienced all those things at various times.

          • by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Monday November 30, 2015 @01:35PM (#51027815) Journal
            "Welcome to being an entrepreneur. You want time off? You earn enough to take some time. You want work/life balance? You earn it. Sometimes getting there requires working pretty hard for a while. You talk about work/life balance as if it is something you are entitled to have rather than something you earn. There's nothing wrong with working for someone else but very few people can earn a substantial income without a lot of time, effort and risk."

            A freelancer is hardly a true entrepreneur. A freelancer is effectively an employee without benefits. Freelancers are capped by the market rates for staff plus the cost of providing them benefits. This is quite different than truly being an entrepreneur making the value of what he is producing. There is a huge gap between the market rate for labor and the market value of a laborers output... if there weren't nobody would hire employees or entrepreneurs. Actual entrepreneurs are exploiting this to make a profit on the work of others without adding value themselves (at least not beyond the value of any one of the workers) and they absolutely owe those workers benefits.

            60% of business ventures fail and most of the ones that don't fail aren't profitable in the first five years. You better have one hell of a safety net to be taking that kind of roll of the dice. It does depend on the business of course but the only ones I know of that significantly improve that outlook are effectively just employment opportunities minus benefits.
        • by careysub ( 976506 ) on Monday November 30, 2015 @12:14PM (#51027047)

          It means you have absolutely no security. No benefits, no paid time off, etc. None of this is conducive to a proper work/life balance. This is fine when you are single and have a safety net to fall back on. But that doesn't work when hard times hit and you have no net and/or you have a family.

          And of course the U.S. has the stingiest safety net in the modern world. Which the right wing is convinced is far, far too generous and must be slashed deeply.

          We are heading for a 21st Century Dickensian society. The life span of the lower economic ladders (not the poor), who are taking the brunt of this brave new world of gig work, and suffering from the "safety net", is already dropping - an end to 2 centuries of improvement in living conditions.

      • It's not being taken advantage of. It's called being a freelancer

        Being a freelancer is fine. Almost certainly, instead, it's being a freelancer through a standardizing interface. Which means that everyone is competing on price, with no ability to apply skill, etc.. Which is a race to the bottom.

      • And at what point can we reevaluate this and say "six jobs at one time is not a job, it's being taken advantage of".

        It's not being taken advantage of. It's called being a freelancer. There is lots of work in the world that does not require being in a single place for 40+ hours each week. Just because it is different doesn't mean it is worse or that you are being taken advantage of. I've held as many as 3-4 "jobs" at a given time. It's normal if you are a freelancer.

        I don't pretend to know what the future will look like but the one thing I'm certain of is that it won't look like today. The job market your parents had isn't the one you will have and the one your kids will have will be different still. Get used to it.

        In the US at least, it looks more to be headed back in time to where people got whatever jobs they could, had no benefits and if they complained about things were easily and quickly replaced. Such is the race to the bottom.

    • by creimer ( 824291 )
      Only if you apply for a government job with a security clearance. My two-hour investigative interview turned into four hours because I had a multiple jobs after being out of work for two years and filing for bankruptcy. For several years I had a weekday job and a weekend job. Sometimes the weekend job started right after my weekday job on Fridays. The government's view is that you should have one and only one job at a time, and working two or more jobs is suspicious activity.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I think you mean Increasing the Number of Jobs We Need

    just to make ends meet etc
    In which case vote for Bernie

  • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Monday November 30, 2015 @09:56AM (#51026057) Homepage

    At least thats what I've found in IT in the UK. Unless you're in management then you're generally ignored when it comes to above inflation pay rises (and sometimes ignored for WITH inflation rises). You may get a small end of year bonus but generally not unless you work in the financial arena and this IMO is why IT has such a high churn rate.

    • I think you're thinking of something different, people going from one job to another. The article is about people holding multiple jobs at the same time:

      Being a member of BlaBlaCar, or being an Airbnb provider, or doing a few hours as a cabbie on Uber, or selling knick-knacks on Etsy, or sharing some skill on YouTube is not a full-time job. But these activities are increasingly part of the working profile of large numbers of people. All of them exploit spare capacity in assets or under-utilised skills and u

    • The thing is, unless you switch jobs, you are actually doing the same job. Why do you deserve more money simply for the fact that you have been doing the same thing longer than everybody else?

      I realize that with people who do IT work such as programmers or system admins that there is an increased level of productivity you can get from those who have more knowledge of the code and/or systems that are dealt specifically at a single company, but after a point, you fail to actually provide more value than you d

      • The thing is, unless you switch jobs, you are actually doing the same job. Why do you deserve more money simply for the fact that you have been doing the same thing longer than everybody else?

        Because the cost of living has gone up (inflation), so paying you the same absolute amount of money to do that job is actually paying you a lower value. Why do you think that someone who remains in a job is worth less than someone with zero experience?

        I realize that with people who do IT work such as programmers or system admins that there is an increased level of productivity you can get from those who have more knowledge of the code and/or systems that are dealt specifically at a single company, but after a point, you fail to actually provide more value than you did the previous year. Essentially, you plateau.

        But again - you don't provide less value, which is what not giving you a pay raise in line with inflation reflects.

      • The thing is, unless you switch jobs, you are actually doing the same job. Why do you deserve more money simply for the fact that you have been doing the same thing longer than everybody else?

        I realize that with people who do IT work such as programmers or system admins that there is an increased level of productivity you can get from those who have more knowledge of the code and/or systems that are dealt specifically at a single company, but after a point, you fail to actually provide more value than you did the previous year. Essentially, you plateau. Once you plateau, you probably aren't worth getting paid significantly more than you were before.

        How long it takes to plateau is going to depend on the actual job you are doing. Something like a but driver, fast food worker, or assembly line worker, you might actually plateau quite quickly, whereas a job where having specific knowledge pertaining to where you work might take longer to reach a plateau. But you will reach a plateau.

        The only way to actually be worth more is to move on to another job, either internally or externally. Most smart companies will allow you to move up within the company so that they can continue to use the knowledge you have about how the company works. Others will try to keep you in the same position for as long as possible so they don't have to retrain somebody else.

        While I agree with you in principal, you missed the point.

        IT jobs are a supply and demand market. In my area the supply is low and the demand is high. As such I have worked at the company I am at for the last 2 years making 100k a year. Current companies looking for people with my skill set are offering 130k a year to start. That is a 30% raise for changing jobs, compared to the 0% raise I have gotten at my current job!

        The value you are looking for is the market value of my skills compared to the value I br

        • That's only problem if you really are in a supply constrained market. If you are offered more money at the firm down the street, then they definitely should be paying you more. What I don't like is that it seems like a lot of people think they should get more money simply for being at a company longer, without actually taking on any additional responsibility or providing any additional value to the company.

          You see a lot of places with unions ending up in this situation. People get raises (and big ones) base

      • Essentially, you plateau. Once you plateau, you probably aren't worth getting paid significantly more than you were before.

        If that were true, you wouldn't be able to leave for more pay since you'd already be making your market rate.

      • by creimer ( 824291 )

        Why do you deserve more money simply for the fact that you have been doing the same thing longer than everybody else?

        That doesn't apply to CEOs. I worked for a Fortune 500 company where the CEO laid off 10% of the workforce, got a 60% raise for a lousy fiscal year, and bought a new yacht to keep up with his peers.

    • The same holds true in the game dev industry too. Switching jobs roughly about every ~2 years is the most effective way to get a pay raise.

      If companies want to stop complaining about lack of "retention" then they need to realize they are part of the problem with people gaming the system.

  • by mbone ( 558574 ) on Monday November 30, 2015 @10:04AM (#51026095)

    People who are working six jobs at once are unlikely to feel secure about their financial and social position. The people I actually know in the "gig economy" are doing it out of some combination of insecurity and desperation. If this is really the future, look for extreme political instability in our country.

    • by mbone ( 558574 )

      By the way, is it just me, or did the author and almost everyone quoted in that article seem like a clueless twit?

      • No, not just you. The article reads like pro-employer trollbait written by an "I got mine so fuck you" rich asshole Randian.

        I don't want to work "gigs". Nor would I even have a job if not for the fact that I don't want to starve to death and be homeless. Holding 6 jobs at once sounds horrendous.

    • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Monday November 30, 2015 @11:16AM (#51026519)

      A friend of mine, who freelances full-time, keeps insisting that I should quit my full-time job and become a full-time freelancer. I've looked at it and the potential money I could make far outstrips what I earn at my current job. However, there's the potential of freelancing and the reality. The reality would be that I would work about half of a day on billable work and half a day on non-billable work (e.g. communicating with clients, drumming up new business, etc.). I also wouldn't have the stability of knowing that this month's paycheck will be the same as last month's and the same as next month's. I might make a lot this month only to see the work dry up for two months before picking up again. My monthly income could fluctuate wildly which isn't that great when you're supporting a family.

      I have nothing but respect for the people who freelance full-time, but that's not for me and I don't think people who tout this as "the next big thing" have workers' best interests at heart.

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        I went into consulting with the idea that I could go freelance once I had some exposure to it. The company I work for was small at the time, so it seemed ideal.

        My impression (still) is that succeeding as a pure IT freelancer is difficult -- there's all the overhead work that's tough to get any compensation for, a fairly unfriendly tax system, healthcare costs and so on.

        And then there's most clients who want IT support but don't want to rely on a single person and prefer a company. Some of the clients I wo

      • by mbone ( 558574 ) on Monday November 30, 2015 @01:54PM (#51027999)

        I have done some freelancing, and there is also the non-billable work that happens, for example, when your invoice is rejected, or your contract is found to have errors, etc. That may not be your fault at all, and can be an incredible time sink, while you are not getting paid trying to fix someone else's mistake.

    • The people I actually know in the "gig economy" are doing it out of some combination of insecurity and desperation

      Just like in the 1930's... great times

  • by Casualposter ( 572489 ) on Monday November 30, 2015 @10:18AM (#51026161) Journal

    Forget for a moment that the sharing economy is based upon some very wrong assumptions about human nature - things that any parent can tell you are not a normal part of human nature, and focus upon the inspiration for this new economic model - Feudal Europe, the village commons, the Great Depression. Nothing in the article is hopeful or progressive - it's all been done before by desperate people trying very hard not to starve to death. How many jobs did people have during the Great Depression? Lots. They just lumped them all together and said "We did what we had to do to survive." This is just another rich asshole's version of "you are poor because you are lazy - now get another low paying job." This goes completely away if wages are required to be livable.

    The concept of the Sharing economy is stupid at its core. This "panacea" is ignoring the basic human territoriality regarding property. Children have to be FORCED to share. They will throw a temper tantrum when required to share. Adults are little different. Smoother, less prone to emotional outbursts and more prone to murder than toddlers. The idea of a "sharing" economy is as dumb as any other Utopian vision that makes assumptions contrary to human nature. Every sharing economy is based upon an outside requirement - men with weapons making unarmed peasants work the land in the Feudal "Sharing Economy." Starvation in the Great Depression. Otherwise, people revert to their nature of territoriality over property.

    • > The concept of the Sharing economy is stupid at its core.
      You're begging the question.

      Co-operation is not stupid; it is an _optimization._ Pooling resources so that those in need have access that they might not normally have. But I guess you would rather be a selfish asshole. You're part of the problem, not the solution.

      > Every sharing economy is based upon an outside requirement
      Nonsense. Counter proof: The Amish.

      Just because most men are to stupid to value the spiritual truth of "You receive what

      • by Rande ( 255599 )

        "Treat others how you want to be treated" is possibly how they are treating you. ...it's just that they _like_ to be whipped and told what a worthless person they are.

  • The Opposite (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Geoffrey.landis ( 926948 ) on Monday November 30, 2015 @10:19AM (#51026169) Homepage

    The summary states "The average time people spend at one job has been trending downward for a long time.
    but the site that is linked to this statement http://www.marketwatch.com/sto... [marketwatch.com] shows the opposite: it says the average time people spend at one job has been slowly trending upward, rising from 3.5 years in 1983 to 4.6 years in 2012, the last year for which figures are available.

    The article linked seems to think that the upward trend is significant, but I think it's easily explained. Younger workers change jobs more frequently, and hence the length of time spent at a job increases as a worker gets older (according to the same site, "Over half of workers age 55 to 64 and those age 65 and over had 10 years or more of tenure in 2012, compared with fewer than 10% of workers in their 20s and 30s."). So that upward trend is just the demographic bulge (the "baby boomers") getting older. I expect that number to drop when more of the baby boomers retire, and the people who started working in the 2000s start making up more of the workers surveyed.

  • I for one welcome our robotic overlords who always have a very high social capital, are willing to work day and night for almost nothing and don't cost a penny when you shut down the power supply.

  • by Cryophallion ( 1129715 ) on Monday November 30, 2015 @10:29AM (#51026223)

    I've seen several negative comments already on here, and instead of replying to each of them, I thought I'd just share my experience.
    For some of us, this way of doing things "scratches itches".
    I think I've always done this. If something interested me, I learned more about it, or I'd learn something because I had a need for it. Then I'd find out someone I knew needed something based on what I'd learned, and suddenly, I was making money doing it. In fact, this has helped me greatly in my life, because now I can be a stay at home dad and still work and do things I enjoy and that fulfill me. Currently, if you include being a dad, I have 4 "jobs". I'm about to add on a 5th on the advice of someone.
    Each of these jobs is enjoyable for the most part in different ways. I still work a few hours for my old job, so I keep up those skills. I have a totally creative design job which I love because I get to be creative, and I usually end up teaching students as well. I have a coding job that allows me to use those logic and problem solving aspects of my brain. I have my horde of kids, which is fulfilling in numerous ways. And I have the new job, which is filling a niche not many realize or know about. It's small scale, but that works for me.
    The key to all these things is prioritization and time management, and keeping your customers expectations reasonable. Yes, there are bad weeks when EVERYTHING hits at once and you have some really late nights. But this is a rarity if you are up front with your clients and explain the situation. A little honest communication goes a long way.
    Now, admittedly, I'm not the best by any means at any of these jobs. But honestly, even if I spent every hour of every day at that job, I still wouldn't be the best. And I'm ok with that. I don't feel this desperate need to be the ultimate, because there will always be someone better than me. However, if I make the lives of others better, give a good service that they need for a good price, get to stretch myself while still managing my family, and get to learn new things constantly, where is the negative here?
    I'm not saying this is for anyone. And to the person who feels that someone is being taken advantage of, seeing as you often choose how many jobs you have (people with more than 3 are usually by choice, not need, because those people would be working double jobs most often), so if you are being taken advantage of, it's only because you are taking advantage of yourself.
    If you DO decide to do this:
    A. Use a really good time tracking program (I use Time Recording for Android).
    B. Know how to get your todo list organized (learn getting things done can be very helpful, and I use todoist to sync so wherever I have a revelation, I can dump it into my inbox).
    C. Learn the value of honesty and integrity. Be straightforward with people. Honestly goes a long way, and if someone knows where they stand, often they will be more reasonable. And if you screw up, just admit it. Mistakes happen. Own it.
    D. Know your worth. Know what is a reasonable amount to be making. Yes, we often make less than we think we are worth. But know what you are willing to accept.
    E. Be reasonable with billing if you can. IE: you will likely work more hours than you get paid for (research, etc), either because you quoted a price and are held to it, or you know how much they are willing/able to pay, or whatever. But try baking that extra time into your price, or your expectation of self worth.
    F. Accept you will not get along with every customer. Be really, really, really good to the ones you click with.
    G. Word of mouth is still the best marketing for most small things. So, get good word of mouth.
    H. Try to have a sense of humor and smile.
    I. Know that life is short, and enjoy it. And don't expect work to be your self worth. That is where the danger lies. Use it to expand your world, but get your self worth from who you are, not what you do. And take breaks. I can take a month off if I schedule things right.

    This will not apply to ev

  • >> If they behave badly they are excluded.

    Except they aren't in today's society. For example, every time we try to "means test" welfare or food stamps or re-examine people fraudulently put on disability for life, there are a whole bunch of people who come out of the woodwork to whine about how unfair and mean all of us who pay the bills are.

    • Well yes, that's because every time someone brings out "means testing", they don't mean "we're going to check for people fraudulently claiming this thing", because the actual rate of fraudulent claiming is very low (contrary to what your local/national news channels will tell you). Instead, what they mean is "we're going to make the test for being disabled harder to prove, and take disability benefits away from people who genuinely are disabled".

      In the UK, more "means testing" was brought in for disability

    • >> If they behave badly they are excluded.

      Except they aren't in today's society. For example, every time we try to "means test" welfare or food stamps or re-examine people fraudulently put on disability for life, there are a whole bunch of people who come out of the woodwork to whine about how unfair and mean all of us who pay the bills are.

      Ugh....I wish I had mod points for this today...!!!

  • by Vermonter ( 2683811 ) on Monday November 30, 2015 @10:47AM (#51026335)
    The reason your dad (or grandfather) likely held the same job his entire life is because 50 years ago, employers were invested in, and took care of, their employees. My grandfather worked for GE his entire life (outside his time in WWII), and it wasn't because there weren't other jobs he could have gone to. They offered him a pension, which you just cannot find anymore. Today you get crappy health care, and if you're lucky a 3% pay raise every year, and if you are high enough on the ladder, a Christmas bonus that actually means anything. Employers just don't invest in employees like they used to.
    • by mbone ( 558574 )

      Employers just don't invest in employees like they used to.

      Not to mention that it has become very common to steal their pensions.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by operagost ( 62405 )

      Zig Ziglar used to say that the only thing worse than training an employee and having him leave, is NOT training him and having him stay!

      Employers only care about today's bottom line and don't think about the consequences of not cultivating talent and loyalty.

    • The reason your dad (or grandfather) likely held the same job his entire life is because 50 years ago, employers were invested in, and took care of, their employees. My grandfather worked for GE his entire life (outside his time in WWII), and it wasn't because there weren't other jobs he could have gone to. They offered him a pension, which you just cannot find anymore. Today you get crappy health care, and if you're lucky a 3% pay raise every year, and if you are high enough on the ladder, a Christmas bonus that actually means anything. Employers just don't invest in employees like they used to.

      With comments like above from employees stating they need to leave every 2 - 3 years why should employers offer any loyalty? It works both ways and it started with workers quiting from Silicon Valley. They were the 1st employees to get up and leave and swap at different companies in the 1960s. It spread.

      So no loyalty to them expect no loyalty back.

      That may actually be a good thing. Last thing you want as a boss is to put up with someone who hates his job and doesn't pull his weight. What if you do not like

    • Employers just don't invest in employees like they used to.

      Well to that I took the advice of one of my former, now retired by choice at an early age coworkers, take every dime you can from the company.
      401k put in the maximum amount they will match
      employee share matching plan, put in as much as they will match
      chance for training or conferences, take it all
      business travel, take it
      vacation, take it but carry over as much as you can
      tuition reimbursement, get that advanced degree
      Even if your employer doesn't offer all of those options take what ever they do and m

      • Employers just don't invest in employees like they used to.

        Well to that I took the advice of one of my former, now retired by choice at an early age coworkers, take every dime you can from the company. 401k put in the maximum amount they will match employee share matching plan, put in as much as they will match chance for training or conferences, take it all business travel, take it vacation, take it but carry over as much as you can tuition reimbursement, get that advanced degree Even if your employer doesn't offer all of those options take what ever they do and make use of it.

        Maybe we should enroll in their defined benefit pension plan also.

        I don't know if you have looked at the job market lately, and what employers are doing - but "matching" exists at a token level is it exists at all. Instead of tuition reimbursement we have extremely low (or zero) pay, no security internships for those already with degrees. Training? It is so amusing.

  • The gig economy devalues the highly skilled labor of many professions. It drives earnings down and forces people to work much harder for much less money. There is nothing good about the gig economy for the rank and file. The websites listing the gigs make bank. It's a massive redistribution of wealth upward.
  • The first part of this article makes sense. The concept of accepting a career job with one employer, who you stay with through retirement, is pretty much over. (If nothing else, I think most people realize that doing so is a non-optimal decision, even when it's technically possible to do it.) For example, I used to work for a small manufacturing company doing I.T. for them. Honestly, I think there was a good chance I could have opted to stay there until either I retired, or until the company shut down. But

  • Between free market and free for all.

    Capitalism only works if you have enough capital on your side.

    Free market works until someone gets too big and starts throwing their weight around.

    Free market works until someone with more capital comes along and dominates your market.

    Capitalism/free market works until you get a lawmaker on your payroll. We passed that point a long time ago!

    It has become politically correct to be politically correct, being politically correct has gotten so politically correct that anyon

  • by ErichTheRed ( 39327 ) on Monday November 30, 2015 @11:38AM (#51026685)

    Outside of the hipster lifestyle in San Francisco and other tech hotbeds, the "gig economy" isn't being celebrated as a major achievement in labor economics. It's a major disruptor, and not in a good way. Doing freelance style work is fine for artists, performers and younger people with no responsibilities other than themselves. Try stitching together a living on 6 jobs at a time while being a parent. Hot internet startups are getting all the tech press lately, and I am worried that engineered PR for things like Uber, Airbnb, Etsy and other "sharing economy" companies is going to permanently shift companies' perception on their workforces. I worry that they're going to take the media's Millenial caricatures that are held up as being the new way forward, and conclude that people don't want to work stable jobs anymore. As a short aside, I'm seeing this in workplaces also; HR people are panicking that the image of a Millenial they've seen in the media (social, job hopper, entitled, etc.) isn't going to want to work for their stuffy old company, so they're slavishly copying Google and turning their office spaces into all-inclusive preschools. Our stuffy old company is doing this now and it's very humorous to watch them try to act like they cater to a bunch of hipsters -- it's like a life insurance salesman trying to market to a bunch of extreme snowboarder dudes.

    Unless society reorganizes itself totally around people having a variable income, the resulting instability of more and more jobs being automated, outsourced or part-time "gigs" is going to have a major effect on economies. 30-year mortgages were developed when people had one or maybe two jobs in their entire career. Same thing with car loans and credit card lending -- all of these assume a steady stream of income to pay current obligations as well as a progression of income over a career. If things get to a point where unemployment or underemployment wipes enough people out, things are going to get pretty hairy. No one is going to want to buy a house, a car, or anything at all if they don't think they can pay for it. People will be moving their whole families around the country every few years military-style and whatever sense of community people have now is going to disappear.

    I sound like a relic, I know, but I do miss employer/employee loyalty. I'm fortunate to work for a good employer, but know many people who are willingly being taken advantage of by bad ones. I know that for companies to be loyal to their employees, there has to be some give on the employee side also, and a lot of people don't understand that. I've worked under people who have had 20 and 25 year stints at the same employer in the past. IBM was pretty famous for this, and although their corporate culture was weird and you had to make some sacrifices, if you worked hard they would make sure you were taken care of. Same with big companies like GE, defense contractors and others. I just hope companies realize that not everyone is a Milennial living in their Mom's basement or in an apartment with 6 other people. Some of us have real world/family responsibilities and aren't looking to hop jobs every 6 months for a 10% pay raise.

    I think that if employees did show a little more loyalty (which is a huge ask in the current climate, I know) then companies would respond by training people properly, not firing them every time the stock goes down a few percent, etc. The problem is shifting the public perception away from the "entitled job hoppers" that the media loves to portray as normal.

  • And will keep getting easier.

    Manufacturing jobs are long gone. Think about how much easier it is to offshore IT jobs. No physical stuff to store, ship, inventory, etc. just zap files back and forth.

  • "...we're seeing many more people start to hold multiple jobs, working whichever one happens to give them something to do at a given time. "

    I have yet to see where Food, Shelter, and Clothing are ever optional, unless one is dead; is that what you're proposing?

As in certain cults it is possible to kill a process if you know its true name. -- Ken Thompson and Dennis M. Ritchie

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