Last week I posted about work-life balance being dead and that the future was “bring your own purpose”. Ironically I didn’t get to finish the post because I had to pick the kids up from school. Welcome to my new life, making it all fit together!
On a personal note
I’m no pyschologist but I do know a bit about my own mind and what a force for good and bad it has been in my life. Like many people I never really gave much thought to my thoughts until they turned bad. Fortunately for me I understood the dangers of mental health and depression well enough to spot the signs and seek help and I was able to turn things around. But that was about making a bad thing good. In recent months I’ve been more interested in making a good thing better which led me to the field of positive pyschology.
So why am I so fixated about purpose all of a sudden? I’m not a religious person although I am definitely becoming more spiritual (there is a difference) and I am all the better for it. I should also be honest about the fact that I have not yet worked out my own ‘purpose’ so some might say its a bit premature to be spruiking the benefits. But that’s the beauty of it… to get the benefits of purpose you don’t actually have to have worked it out yet, you just have to be open to finding it. To accept that you have one and that everything you do is an opportunity to get closer to finding it.
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” ― Mark Twain
The alarming increase in mental health problems and the changing nature of work and indeed society are inextricably linked in my mind. We find ourselves increasingly struggling to reconcile the demands on the ‘faceless employee’ with the needs of the ‘individual person’. Those who are successfully bridging the gap are doing so with a very clear sense of purpose.
The independent worker needs to know their ‘why’ as well as their ‘what’
By 2020 more than half the US workforce will be independent contractors or freelancers according to research by MBO Partners. Unsurprisingly Australia is on a similar trajectory with a recent survey by Elance-odesk suggesting a third of Australia’s workforce already undertake some form of freelance work. The implications for ‘non-employees’ and by assimilation their traditional employee co-workers, is that the nature of their relationship with their ’employer’ is changing. They are trading security and structure for freedom and flexibility. They no longer rely on an organisation to provide many of the traditional employee benefits associated with work such as annual leave, sick leave, superannuation or pension plans and even tools of trade. We are increasingly making independent choices about how, when and where we work. And so too ‘why’ we work.
From byodevice to byopurpose
Ten years ago, even five years ago, it would have been unthinkable for employees to supply their own tools of trade such as laptops and mobiles. It was expected that your employer would provide you with what you needed to do your job and you would use whatever their IT or procurement department issued you on your first day. But the increasingly independent workforce combined with the rapid advancement of consumer technology driven by tech visionaries such as Apple and Google, has fuelled a ‘byodevice revolution’. People would rather forgo the ‘benefit’ of employer-issued technology to have the freedom to choose and bring their own device to work. If we no longer leave our technology choices to our employer, then we certainly should not trust them to provide us with such an important asset as our purpose.
The #byopurpose revolution has begun and is enabling changemakers, intrapreneurs, social employees, in fact any of us to find more meaning in our work and so integrate it more effectively with the rest of our lives.