We live in interesting times. The pace of change has accelerated such that major change cycles are happening within our lifetimes. It wasn’t so long ago, when our grandparents used to say to their children, “Get a Government Job! You’ll be secure for the rest of your life!” Fast forward a couple of years, and you hear our parents say, “Get a Private Sector Job! You’ll have a better lifestyle.” (Many parents in my time, used to talk about being either doctors or engineers, but that’s another topic altogether).

We’ve finally realized the benefits of allowing the private sector to flourish. Customers are served better, there’s a lot of competition which contributes to more efficient systems and higher productivity. I no longer have to stand for two hours to take a demand draft. ICICI Bank can do that in two minutes! We’ve received the best of the private sector, higher quality goods and services, decent customer service, better work environs. Undisputedly, we are enjoying better lifestyles.

But with all this privatization and globalization, come another side to what the capitalistic Americans could neither predict — layoffs, lack of employee and employer loyalty (oh, not to mention reduced customer loyalty!) and along with the Dot.com boom — obnoxious 20 something’s trying to become millionaires!

Let’s face the facts, layoffs and recessions were a part and parcel our new found economic world order. Add to that the fast changing world, where uncertainty is the only sure thing, where managers and CEOs have no idea as to ‘ what’s next ‘ — we’re in Chaos. And that’s good.

Then you have terrorists on a mission to destroy. With 911/Mumbai Attacks we’ve seen how fragile this world really is. As countries like America or India, which were already in recession, to put it metaphorically, kicked in the center and are now on its knees. And when it pours, it pours cats and dogs — bankruptcy, unethical CEOs/Chairmans filled with greed, and faltering auditing mechanisms that cannot manage the rate of change, reduced consumer spending, profit warnings, and more layoffs.

Top Management Gurus, are trying to make sense of this all and they maybe onto something. I’m not calling myself one, but putting two and two together, there’s a new trend -

FREE AGENT NATION + FUTURE WEALTH + BRAND YOU = [me]

There are ideas floating around that in the future we may see the likes of Human Exchanges, similar to a stock exchange wherein goods are traded, in this case, values are attributed on humans. In the near future, your “pH” (Human Performance) factor could fluctuate depending on your performance, earnings, or brand value.

This is where the concept of free nation agents comes in, those pioneering souls who venture out to establish their solo practices with — projects and contracts, rather than full time employment. It’s highly probable that given the present scenario of job cuts, quite a few individuals are starting to see better alternatives in starting up their own small outfits.With the rise of free agent nation, developing your brand becomes all the more important. The promise that your brand signifies, will determine your scale of pHs in the human exchange. The more pHs you have the more value you gain, and correspondingly higher fees.

Now people like Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods or even Pamela Anderson, would be able to rely on their brand values (in case of Pamela, her endowments!) to determine their fees in the human exchange.

In turn, this would mean developing your brand would be of utmost importance and prove to be beneficial for your futures market at least.