Welcome to the fully-employed, underpaid slave economy
Bemoan the death of the gold watch, honoring 20 years of service at one company. And it’s not even that we’ll have 5–6 jobs in the course of a career— it’s that the concept of jobs themselves doesn’t even exist.
The sharing economy led by Uber and AirBnb, is the ugly stepchild of Craigslist and Eharmony— an unholy match of selling + relationships. Imagine Tinder + your favorite site and you get a glimpse of the future.
Some call this the rental economy, driven by Millennials that don’t believe in “owning” cars and “houses”, preferring the freedom to roam and experience. Are 20-somethings even buying houses or getting 30 year mortgages anymore? They’re not using fax machines, either.
We’re in a natural, unstoppable progression where human lives are being segmented into smaller and smaller units for sale, much like cows being processed in the slaughterhouse. No parts wasted. The cow (you) is no longer sold whole to a single company (lifetime employment), but chopped into little increments of time and task that FancyHands, Fiverr, Uber, and all the other services gladly sell.
So if you’re driving for Uber and delivering laundry for Washio, would you say that you’re employed?
Is this the Matrix, perhaps just missing the plug in the back of your neck? The dystopian view of Big Brother was wrong. Instead of physical hoses connected to you, we’ve got beacons, bluetooth, and NFC.
But in the death of the Internet (or a desktop only world) and into the Internet of Things where all devices are connected, worn, or implanted— what will this mean for employment?
I believe we’re about to enter the ultimate service economy, where personal branding is the only way you stand out from everyone else in this Brave New Homogenous World.
If you don’t differentiate, you’re doomed to selling piecemeal standardized services. And what the Architect can’t automate will be replaced by Agent Smith and his drones.