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Freelancers, consultants and other independent workers account for 16 million people in the country now and will become a majority by 2020, predicts Gene Zaino, the president and CEO of MBO Partners, which connects independent worker with employers. The company, which recently conducted a survey of independent workers, said that based on existing trends, there is expected to be 65 to 70 million independent workers in the next decade, comprising more than half of all employees.
By now, most people who work in the developed world have gotten used to the idea that the old nine-to-five routine is gradually becoming a thing of the past; plenty of people have shifts that start and end at different times, or they use job-sharing and other forms of flex-time. Some don’t even have traditional jobs at all any more, thanks to the evolution of the “gig economy” and the increase in freelancing . All of which raises a question that seems even more appropriate with Labor Day around the corner: Are defined hours of work an anachronism that’s holding us back ? Or is the freedom to work whenever we want something still reserved for a select few, and/or a trap that causes us to work more rather than less? Flexible work is something that seems increasingly popular with programmers and other online workers, for reasons that Zach Holman of the software repository GitHub described in a recent post on the GitHub blog , entitled “ Hours Are Bull**** .”
Welcome to the Gig Life. The boom in independent work is changing the way we think about jobs and careers. Does Washington get it? It's been called the Gig Economy, Freelance Nation, the Rise of the Creative Class, and the e-conomy, with the "e" standing for electronic, entrepreneurial, or perhaps eclectic. Everywhere we look, we can see the U.S. workforce undergoing a massive change. No longer do we work at the same company for 25 years, waiting for the gold watch, expecting the benefits and security that come with full-time employment.