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Name Calling: Redefining The Traits Of On-Demand Workers

talks-have-broken-downI’ve been talking and writing a bit lately about the new freelance economy and today’s on-demand workers.  One of the things I find interesting is the crossover between freelancers and entrepreneurs.  In other words, the more involved a person becomes in 1099 work, the more they start to become their own small business.  Suddenly, instead of just being Girl Fridays and Task Rabbits, they’re also bookkeepers, marketing specialists, webmasters, and so on.

Naturally, in order to make this transition, a person has to have (or develop) certain skills.  Ironically, those particular professional talents tend to be the opposite of those needed to fit into a rigid corporate structure.  Although many people who became small business owners (myself included) worked their way up the ladder in the corporate arena, they eventually came to realize that they simply weren’t “company men.”     

In fact, I’ve found that some of the very same traits that make for a misfit employee also make for a magnificent entrepreneur.  This is especially true when it comes to millennials, who have a whole different set of professional values (as seen in Mary Meeker’s presentation on today’s internet trends).  

According to hiring managers, younger workers are more likely (than their older peers) to be: open to change, creative, and money-driven.  They also prefer to collaborate online, have flexible work hours, and use their personal phones for work purposes.  





So, perhaps we should shift the meaning of a few common freelancer markers, as follows:

  • OLD TERM: Uncooperative; not a team player
  • NEW TERM: Independent; willing and able to delegate
  • OLD TERM: Messy; disorganized
  • NEW TERM: Creative; avant-garde
  • OLD TERM: Narcissist; inflated self-esteem
  • NEW TERM: Takes pride in her work; strong leader
  • OLD TERM: Attention deficit; distracted
  • NEW TERM: Multi-tasker; visionary
  • OLD TERM: Dramatic; overly invested
  • NEW TERM: Passionate; committed
  • OLD TERM: Can’t follow directions; insubordinate
  • NEW TERM: Collaborator; egalitarian
  • OLD TERM: Argumentative; chatty
  • NEW TERM: Strategic thinker; social

So, what do you think?  Got any of your own creative terms or newfangled definitions I’ve missed here?  Comment below!


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