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Friday, 3 May 2019

The Co-worker: the changing nature of work

Image from Pixabay
In the early 1970s, the decade I entered the job market in India, the only way to find work was to go and get a job. You attempted to get into some job by going for entrance tests and interviews.

If you landed a job with the government it was celebration time for the family.

Some job aspirants looked at good employers in the private sector.

Very few decided to do something on their own.

Starting your own business was not at all a popular option.

Having secured a job people stayed on, sometimes for their entire career.

As the decades rolled on things started changing. Getting a job with the government still remains quite popular. However, jobs in the private sector are now equally sought after.

Nowadays frequent shifting of jobs seems to have become a norm. The days when most people stayed on with a company for a lifetime are seemingly over.

The ease with which new jobs can be found and the variety of jobs that are out there appears to have contributed to this.

The advent of the freelance culture has changed things drastically.

It is really wonderful that people are quite willing to give projects to freelancers on the other side of the world. Thus underlining the similarity of human interaction across cultures and regions of the world.

For quite some time freelance work used to imply working from home.

No longer so.

The creation of co-working space has changed all that.

Now a freelancer can work in an office like environment where all the required facilities are made available at a reasonable cost.

Looks like everybody can give work to everyone and everyone can work from anywhere.

What a huge change in just 5 decades.

How and why has this come about?

Listed below are some of the factors which I believe have contributed:

Need for work freedom

Who does not want an atmosphere where one can work in a free environment. Employers try to out do each other by providing flexible work-hours, allowing work from home, providing in-house food courts and areas for in door games. 

Still there is that feeling of having to work on what you are told to do and not always on what you want to do. 


It would be wonderful if we could earn a living by working on something we love to do. Ikigai the Japanese concept has a beautiful method of discovering this elusive but worth striving for goal. Ikigai urges us to find work which lies at the intersection of the following four life circle.
  • What you LOVE
  • What you are GOOD  at
  • What the world NEEDS
  • What you can be PAID for
This is elusive.

Information age

The internet and the world becoming one huge interconnected space has given a plethora of new opportunities to  both the employer and the worker. This blog, for example, would not have been possible but for the information revolution.

This super interconnection of the world has made finding your Ikigai easier in some forms of work.

Reducing work barriers

There are always barriers to finding your Ikigai. These have however reduced for work which can be sought and delivered over the internet. Everybody is connected to everybody on the world wide web. 

Freelance work can now be found much more easily than just a few decades back. 

Mutual rating system

The freelance portals allow employers to rate workers. More importantly they also allow workers to rate employers. Work can be sought and work can be quoted for at very nominal cost.

Skill is king

The reputation of your skill in doing online work, seemingly is more important, than just your academic qualification. This is a huge leveler of competition. If you can do something really well you will get work. Skill based certification has, therefore, assumed much importance.

The Co-worker 

The barrier of having a place to work of your own outside of your home was not an easy one. Commercial property is expensive and so are rents for commercial premises. Working from home does not suit every body. The solution is the co-working place. At a reasonable cost you get to work in a nice commercial space, with all facilities.

In many ways the emergence of freelance work and creation of co-working spaces has been a liberating experience for many.

The nature of work is indeed changing