As always, the world is evolving. And with this evolution the way we get work done has rapidly changed also. I remember my father waking up every day at 5am, working a 12 hour day at the factory and coming home. Like clockwork. He did this for his entire working life and it served himself and our family well. Many people today would consider themselves lucky to have this kind of security or consistency with their job, but I consider myself lucky that I have been able to evolve away from this model and recognize that there is a new way of working rising up. And when I say a new way of working, I really mean an old way of working that now has some stellar new tools. Here is a great quote from Robert Paterson’s The End of the Job – Networked Economy post:

Back in 1800, 80% of people in America worked for themselves. The rise in industrialization created the Job as the new normal. By 1980, the apogee of the Industrial model, 80% of us had jobs. But look now at what has happened in only 40 years. 40% of us now work for ourselves.

Covered Wagon

Covered Wagon of yore

Prior to industrialization, it took many people working independently to accomplish a task. Say you want to build a wagon. the black smith would make the springs, the ribs to support the cover and the axels. The carpenter would build the wheels, the wagon box and tongue. Then a third party might build the canvas top and yet another person might actually assemble the wagon for the person who actually wants the wagon. So in this example there is a hyper local set of skills to accomplish a task. All of these people worked for themselves and the town would have a micro economy to support itself.

Then came industrialization and companies needed guaranteed skill sets on their time so they employed people with those specific skill to support mass production, this is when having a job and an employer became the norm.

Floating Network

People. Everywhere. Working Together.

Now the work force is leaving this behind and moving back toward an independent way of working. Workers today are just like the artisans of the 1800s, the difference is now there are tools and infrastructure to support the micro-economy that existed in a single town to be on a global scale. My expertise is software, but this model is true for a number of skilled workers. We are now a part of a networked workforce where companies and individuals have a need and a partnership is formed. This lasts the duration of the need and then both parties move on. Rinse and repeat.

So that is some background on where things are and where they will continue to head until some new revolution turns our economy another direction. We have the ability to work with others and share our wares with nearly anyone on the planet. As I mentioned before, I’m a software professional so there are lots of business type tasks that I am not qualified to undertake. My goal with this series of articles is to share a set of tools to aid any independent worker with the tasks that might not fall under their expertise. So grab a cup of coffee, turn down the lights and join me on this journey.

IWS Part 1: Show me the Money

IWS Part 2: Cloud Collaberation

IWS Part 3: Where to Work