Article by Tim Brown – CEO of IDEO – Designing a Freelance Life Part 1: The Brief

Posted on April 30, 2013

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“A recent article on the freelance workplace refers to an Intuit study that predicts 40% of the workforce will be freelance by 2020. To many, this is an exciting idea where talented and creative individuals get to leverage their skills free from the tyranny of the “boss.” To others, it is a scary proposition where individuals work crazy long hours with none of the traditional perks and protections of employment. What interests me is: How might we be intentional about the design of a freelance life such that we get more of the former and less of the latter?

What are the tools that we need to manage freelance careers? What are the new behaviors amongst individuals and corporations that might make freelancing sustainable? How might our social structures and education systems have to change to accommodate this shift in work style?

I would love to come back to this topic from time to time. What are the questions we should really be asking? Where might we look for insights and inspiration?

How have you designed your freelance life?”

My answer:

The way I have designed my ‘freelance’ life is through perseverance and positivity. I’m currently unemployed and looking for freelance and contract work but my positive attitude to life puts me in a much better position than my peers. Persevering with the search and looking for new opportunities is also key to keeping out of the abyss of depression that most graduates – graduates +3yrs, fall into. They feel there is no future, so what is the point in trying at all?

I’m one of the lucky ones, but its still hugely scary. Like my peers, I feel that I might never be able to earn enough money to support myself and my family, or even future family …and without going on the dole.

One of the questions which gets brought up for many people I know is ‘How can I get paid for my freelance work?’ Creative internships are notorious now and so finding a system or organisation that will help you get paid for hours of work you do seems like a farfetched dream!

In my experience, many companies still just want the robotic-tea-making-junior worker because they don’t want the competition for their jobs. Yet graduates are geared to be the best, be inventive open up new opportunities for them selves and others.

One of my favorite quotes from an old chinese proverb (which I’m sure was used in a charity advert in the 90’s) “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime”
Maybe that fish/fishing could be changed:

“Give a someone a solution, and you solve their problem (for the day). Teach someone to solve problems, and you support them for a lifetime.” ?

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