Brave for the new world

July 2012 in the UK, and we can’t stop talking about the bad weather, trying to predict what happens next. In fact, most of our lives are spent trying to predict what happens next in order that we try and stay one step ahead.

Well, we’ve got news for you. That pace of change is accelerating, fueled by global adoption of social, mobile, and other new technologies. In parallel, our faith in the old institutions of the past is very diminished. Who would have thought that banking and politics could have ended up being such unpopular professions? This level of uncertainty leaves us struggling to answer:

  • Which of the big social trends will have staying power?
  • What skills do I need in the future?
  • How can you weigh risk and opportunity when everything can change overnight?

Unfortunately, we don’t know the answer to those questions.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives; nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” (Charles Darwin)

But of one thing we can be certain. The future is much more fluid and chaotic.

There are some for whom that feels normal. At KindredHQ, we know more than a few of this type; you may be one yourself. They are defined by a mindset rather than by the more traditional demographics, just as likely to be a women start up entrepreneur in her 50s as a young graduate millennial.

That mindset embraces and enjoys that state of constant change, and, like surfers, people like this are able to ride along on the waves of change. If you already work independently, you may be thinking ‘so what’. To a certain extent, it is easier for the free-agent to be able to deal with ambiguity, we do it everyday. You have to feel for the big companies and the long serving employees though. It’s much more difficult for them to adapt to a world where there aren’t any certainties. That’s a huge opportunity for the freelance generation. Companies need your open mind and your fluidity.

But not everyone can deal with this. It can be terrifying. The idea of taking risks, of stepping out into the unknown is very scary at the best of times, but even more so when there seems to be no let up in our economic prospects.

The new reality

We are in a new era. The new reality for us independent types is multiple jobs and projects with constant pressure to learn new things and adapt to new work situations, and no guarantee of anything, least of all that we can turn back to what we know and understand.

It can be terrifying. It can be exhausting. It can also be exhilarating. At KindredHQ, we love the fact that we are doing stuff today that wasn’t necessarily on our list of skills and experience before. You do not have to be a jack-of-all-trades to flourish, but you do need have an open mind and be prepared to keep learning. Although it’s natural for us to rely on what’s worked before, you have to leave behind that sense of entitlement to a future career path that used to come from years of experience doing one thing.

If we can’t rely on that, what can we rely on?

The problem is that there aren’t any role models for this future, at least none that are still alive. Some might say that we are making it up as we go along. Others, that we have a once in a generation opportunity to disrupt and rethink our established business models. Whether you are glass half full or half empty about how it will turn out, you do have an opportunity to be part of something that is evolving in front of you. You can rely on your ingenuity and your mind-set.  (And the stories of those who have gone before.  You’ll find some of those stories here).

We’re positive about the future, and we want to build a new kind of economy that makes much more of the flexible and adaptable talent pool of the free agent population. We hope you’re in for the ride.

Who is Alex Butler

Hello, I'm Alex Butler and I founded the KindredHQ community and blog back in 2011 after I re-started a freelance career. I LOVE freelancing and I wouldn't swop the freedom, control and joy of working for myself for anything. But I realised how much I missed the company and energy of other people - of having a team around me. So, I got a few people together one day with our laptops, a jar of coffee and some jelly babies and we sat and worked together one afternoon. We've been doing that every week in London, UK since then! I am still 100% freelance and I like to share the everyday highs and lows of being a freelancer here on the blog.

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