It’s Not All About the Jobs Anymore (Guest post)

Posted By on March 1, 2016



by George H. Schofield, PhD

For decades Jobs have been the standard model of work for pay.   Employers provide work to do, security, structure, compensation and benefits, work community, and long term prospects.   Employees provide skill, time, dedication, productivity, reliability, loyalty, and experience.   Jobs are important as our economy improves.   However, jobs are no longer the whole picture or even the singular model of work for pay.

20 year olds are starting businesses. So are 70 year olds.   And everyone in between. They are freelancing and they are experimenting with different types of work. Work for pay in many arenas is becoming project oriented, technology driven, and a voluntary career choice. Yes, that’s right.   Many workers have decided they prefer self employment and freelancing, having come to the informed conclusion that employment jobs no longer represent security or long term reliability.   Chronological age is no longer the great determiner of life competence or ambition.  And it certainly is no longer the great determiner of work for pay possibilities.

Bill W. was born in 1935, a member of the Greatest Generation, which is characterized by personal responsibility, thriftiness, strong work ethic, prudent savings, and faithful commitments. Find a course and follow it. At 81 he is still the driving force behind his machinery company.     Currently there is a need to buy new, digital parts-stamping equipment because business is booming.   This, of course, means some additional workers will be needed.   Not everyone who works for Bill is a full time employee.   Some are part time. Some are freelancers who work for other people, too.   Bill has adapted.

Clarice B. was born in 1952, a Baby Boomer, who, like many of her peers, is independent, goal-oriented, hierarchical and rank oriented, and competitive. She believes in/respects having paid dues and having earned credentials.  At 64, she is in the midst of building the custom luggage business she inherited 10 years ago from her mother.   She is satisfied with the overseas subcontractors who do the manufacturing. However, her sales are booming and she needs some full and part time experts in online retail marketing and sales.   She may hire a small number of workers, but the majority of her growing talent pool will be freelancers.   This saves her money in the long run and matches the labor pool to the work to be done at any given time.

Mike R. was born in 1976, a Millenial or GenXer, a generation characterized by independence, self sufficiency, disdain for authority, willingness to change employers to get ahead, adaptable, and devoted to real, not pretend, accomplishments for their efforts. He is considering leaving his current job to buy into a successful Storage business.   He is also considering starting a freelancing consulting business.   He has a significant amount of savings to back himself up for a while.   He and his wife have cut their expenses also.   They saw this coming: some form of equity or self employment became their goal quite a while ago.   It’s all part of their career plans, and those don’t include long term jobs.

Jennifer B. was born in 2000, a member of generation Y. Generation Y grew up with technology and is plugged-in 24 X 7.   They are looking for flexible schedules and work/life balance. An avid and competitive biker at 16, Jennifer and her father together want to start an online bicycle specialty products retail company.   According to their pro forma financials, the company could be profitable enough in one year to be self sustaining.   Their expectation is that this business would:

  1. Pay for Jennifer’s college education,
  2. Give her great business experience,
  3. Provide her father with the experience and platform necessary to step into a going business when he retires in 5 years.

This is a startup.   They know this is a 10 to 15 year business they can sell eventually.   Jennifer imagines freelance consulting further down the road, utilizing her education, experience, and success.   She also imagines starting another business in parallel with her freelancing.   She doesn’t want to just one thing and she doesn’t have to.   Her father is learning from her about his own options.

While the names are fictitious, these career and work for pay situations are real.   All of these people are choosing alternatives to jobs working for someone else.   And several know they will do more than one thing for a living at the same time somewhere down the road.   It isn’t all about employment jobs any more.


Futurist, author and developmental psychologist George Schofield spent a distinguished career as a consultant before turning his focus on a stage of life that few have studied in depth: the span between middle age and elderly.

His groundbreaking book, After 50 It’s Up to Us, eloquently explains why and how we all must face, head on, the new realities that await us as we age.

His insights have galvanized readers and audiences, who find his message powerful, inspirational, and timely. His is a completely fresh perspective on how to create the later life you want when the roads leading to that life, once clearly signposted, are filled with detours.

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