25. Rethink Your Future in New Colors

From Inside Outsider

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Photo Thom Masat on Unsplash

The more I talk to people about the gig mindset, the more I learn how people are shaping their futures in very different ways.

Roles and practices are being challenged. Leadership is questioned. People are developing strategies and finding ways to take ownership of their own work experience. Organizations are finding ways to attract and keep gig mindsetters.

Gig mindset or traditional mindset or are you somewhere in between? How has the gig mindset impacted you and your work life? Here is what I heard back in 2018, the first year of my gig mindset survey:

  • “I began to see why some of the tensions had emerged in my work environment and saw ways I could handle them.” (UK)
  • “It made me continuously reinvent myself, work practice and output… I need to stay nimble and aware of external changes at the level of the sector I work for and my practice. (UAE)
  • “Provided opportunities to see more as possible rather than accept constraints which seek to maintain the status quo.” (Australia)
  • “It’s a mindset of self-sufficiency that helps you to grow faster because you’re not constrained by the professional development offerings of your employer.” (USA)
  • “The few of us who do operate from a gig mindset simply choose to ignore senior leaders focused on hierarchy. If we achieve the expected results then there is very little they can do to us.” (UK)

Rethinking purpose

However, based on recent conversations with people in different countries, the gig mindset is still rare. Some people are part of the movement I call creative resignation where you stay inside your organization but work in ways that are different. But the most worrisome trend for organizations is the numbers of workers who have decided to move on. They had a fundamental rethink of their sense of purpose during lockdown and when working from home. Now they are unwilling to go back to the old world. They want to live their purpose in a context where they are free to question the status quo and take initiatives; These are exactly the people organizations need to keep!

How can organizations keep these people?

An employee in a hundred-person startup in the Netherlands described how they got an outstanding worker to join their small company:

  • “We just got a new guy in our company. He’s about 35 or so and used to work pretty high up at [name of globally famous brand company]. He resigned and came here. He’s making much less money, he says, but the work is more interesting, and he’s enjoying himself much more.”

A manager in a global transportation company in Scandinavia believes it is a priority to retain people with a gig mindset:

  • “If I, as a manager, don’t encourage the gig mindset, I will lose my own motivation and, in the end, the best people.”

How to do this? First identify them.

I wrote about this earlier: Looking for people who will make a difference in your organization?

The starting point is to engage with a job candidate in such a way that you can see how they interact with others. The head of R&D in a global company described his approach to interviewing job candidates:

  • “I give an example, such as mentioning that we have created country-level R&D councils and need to be sure we have all the right voices at the table. Which functions should be included? A candidate’s answer gives me a sense of how the person sees the roles of others and whether the person understands how an R&D group can work together and how interlinked our efforts really are.”

(Read more in the case study “Behaviors that Transform  in The Gig Mindset Advantage” https://netjmc.com/stories-from-the-future/)

Secondly, value and keep them.

There was an interesting article in the NYT recently about hybrid work, which is not as simple as yes or no.

Will hybrid help keep the “best and brightest”?

  • “Many, many companies in recent months have insisted that people come back to the office five days a week, only to reverse that mandate within about a week after hearing that they’d lose their best and brightest,” said Julia Pollak, the chief economist ZipRecruiter.
  • Remote work, Ms. Pollak added, “is not just used as a sort of perk in a tight labor market that’s going to go away in a slacker labor market.”

Hybrid or remote, whichever term you prefer, is part of the movement of people looking for purpose beyond work.

The inner search for purpose and more time to achieve it is what most of us want.

How can we do this? 


What are your takeaways? What have you experienced that you can share with us?

Please share directly with me via twitter.com/netjmc, on mastodon.social/@netjmc  or my website at Contact.

Check out my book, The Gig Mindset Advantage, a Bold New Breed, available in hardback or digital format from major booksellers worldwide. You can also request an invitation to join a community of gig mindsetters who share stories, frustrations, accomplishments and new project ideas in a private space.


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