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Generation C - Choice - How to work on your own terms

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Confucius

Work-life what?
The divisions between work and play, between professional and personal are disappearing fast. The notion of work-life balance is being abandoned in favour of work-life integration. But guess what? Work is such a major part of life for most of us, the two are already deeply integrated, whether you like it or not. The trick is to like it and make it ‘work’ for you.

Technology makes us available 24/7. Incidentally our minds and creativity are available for most of that time too. So, after you’ve worked out what you like doing, the next step is to analyse where, when and how you work the best. Then decide what is important to you and try to make it happen every day.

Juggling career and family is becoming a thing of the past. Forward-looking companies enable staff to blend professional needs and lifestyle choices through optimising skills, effective time-management, communication, delegating, leveraging technology and resources. Smart companies will also support staff by continually assessing their life and career priorities and options.

Say hello to Generation C
Generations Y and Z demand more from work than ever before. Beyond job satisfaction, salary package and career opportunities, these millennials discriminate strongly in favour of businesses that share their values, offer them a voice in the workplace and provide the opportunity to challenge authority. However, these aren’t the prerogatives of the young or digital natives. Gen C includes anyone who expects and creates flexible, personalized working conditions.

Charles Handy, an organizational behaviour and management guru, predicts the ‘shamrock model’, which relies on a small core of indispensable employees and a large network of contractors. He also anticipates the proliferation of ‘fleas’ – independent entrepreneurial individuals and small innovative start-ups that provide corporates with ideas and growth that is fuelled by those ideas.

With the rise of contracting (by 2020 over 40% of the workforce will be self-employed in some form) and personalized contracts for each individual, the notion of choice (and Gen C) becomes even more stark. Why wouldn't you want to work forever in this brave new world, if you are doing something you love, on your terms, at the time you want?

This is the third blog in the series Imagining Workplace 2020. Read Isabel Naidoo’s earlier posts Imagining Workplace 2020 (and beyond) and Being yourself at work and true inclusion.

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