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Work As Collaboration – Freelancers Please Apply

I’ve already had three careers. I was a foreign language teacher, then I was an information consultant and now I work  in marketing. These changes were my choice and a natural progression of my interests.

For many of us, the way we have worked in the past has changed. Most of us will no longer work for one employer for a lifetime; we’ll need to act as freelancers who ‘market’ their skills to organizations who pay to get work done.

For employers, the economics of this might make sense but how can they be sure that their ad hoc work team has the right skills? How do they compensate them?

For workers, how will we keep our skills up to date? How will we get benefits? How will employers find us? What skills will we need to negotiate our new contracts? These are just a few of the questions that we and the next generation of workers will need to face.

Technology is enabling new ways of working together. Google Wave, cloud computing, Google docs and Basecamp are just a few examples of current tools that are changing the way we work.

Sure there still will be plenty of ‘regular’ jobs, but it’s worthwhile for all of us to think about what we will need to do to rise to this challenge. Entrepreneurs have a golden opportunity to create the tools for the coming freelance boom.

For more thoughts about the changing nature of work check out, Predictions for 2010: Five Changes in the Way We Work. I’m looking forward to hearing what you think.

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