I’m the boss of MySelf Inc.
A small overview on the self-employment drama that, maybe, really isn’t.
Three days ago on this webpage appeared the first guest’s article of our Journal. Do you feeling our pride?
I bet you do, even if you are reading from an old-small-low-res display.
The article firmed by Identity Atlas is about the Non-Résumé project, an answer to the CV madness that characterizes our time.
Even if the literally meaning of “curriculum vitae” is “the course of life”, Identity Atlas observes, it isn’t a faithful representation of our lives since we are not putting our mistakes, wrong choices, afterthoughts in it. Whatever medium you choose for your CV, it will be your best opportunity to look professional, smart, brilliant and, finally, find a job. So nowadays résumé is a lot more important than Leonardo Da Vinci could have imagined when he wrote the first CV.
To be honest, CV is becoming quite an obsession, a self-branding tool.
Some time ago at Nefula we had fun when a friend of ours, who we hadn’t seen for a long time, started a conversation saying: «Hey, I heard you’ve been invited to the X conference! I bet you wrote it in your résumé, isn’t it?». But maybe this is no a laughing matter.
The last post by Salvatore Iaconesi on our Journal is about the Future of Work, and it starts from the definition of what “work” means.
For his purpose Salvatore chose the definition of work as «the physical or mental activity in order to achieve a result, which usually corresponds to an economic compensation of some kind».
But, as Salvatore specified in his introduction, “work” is not only definable in the economic sense.
Work contributes to determinate who we are.
In the Refusal of Work, David Fraybe is a cornerstone of our work-centred society:
Often, after the end of the school, new graduates are encouraged to “find a place in the real world”.
Because a life without work is not a real life, isn’t it?
The term “work” has a different meaning in the fields of arts and creativity. It used to describe «the artistic production of a particular author, composer, or artist, regarded collectively» (Oxford Dictionary).
And here we are: could a creative work, the process of the material embodiment of talent and sensibility, be considered as labour?
This is the existential trouble of the workers of the cultural and creative industry.
On this issue, Peggy Deamer wrote an essay that starts with an inspiring story:
The essay is part of the must-read of The Architecture Lobby, an organization «that argues for the value of architecture, beginning by identifying ourselves as workers and our contributions as “work” – work that is aesthetic, technical, social, organizational, environmental, administrative, fiduciary, but in all cases, work.»
Every day the creative industry workers have to face with the inability to access to all the things that labour should ensure: social protection, financial stability, job security, bonuses or health insurance…
It’s seems to be a losing battle. Freelance work is winning.
Precarity Pilot, a platform that aims to create a collective way to deal with precariousness in design, defines this process as self-precarisation:
This does not just concern the cultural and creative industry: freelance work is spreading everywhere.
It is the gig-economy baby.
Silvio Lorusso describes the entreprecariat as a self-employee, and he/she might enjoy it:
Yes, because the self-employed is a double-edged sword. In her essay Neither Scylla nor Charybdis: some muses on forming one’s practice and resisting bad arguments Valeria Graziano wrote about how, when the responsibility of success is put on the worker’s shoulders, easy it is to become our own worst enemies:
In gig-economy self-employees and entreprecariats are the new working class, but they think they are brands. We mix our personal life with our work life, we have friends that tomorrow could be colleagues or collaborators, we have bedrooms that could be offices if necessary. In the same space of our social-network timeline we mix love relations, work stuff and message for our far-away grand-ma.
And we all know that our Facebook, Twitter, Whatever profiles are scanned from our clients and competitors.
Furthermore, there is the issue of time-management: the incessant try to to increase personal productivity and find a more efficient way of work.
Oliver Burkeman considers it a dominant motif of our age:
All this, obviously, is the perfect habit for the growing of a certain number of paradoxical stories.
One of this, that sounds like a dystopian novel, is the story of Mary the Lyft 9-months pregnant driver who took rides while she was in labor.
All of this looks like a huge mess.
And it probably really is.
All of this is part of the Strange Now that we are living in this moment, in our fast-changing present.
Here at Nefula, we feel that we are in this mess. So we are exploring the Future of Work, an exercise that a lot of people, in different ways, are trying to do in these last years. From our personal point of view, this process is having a lot of value because, while we are doing our research, we have a good occasion to face our fears and our hopes, that are the same of many different people and realities. Until now we were able to find out many questions, and very few answers. And this can be seen as a good results, in some way.
We would like if all these actions of investigation about the Future of Work could be the trigger for collective discussions on how we want to work tomorrow. We all have to enlarge our imaginary about what work is, and its role in our lives and society. We should be able to create our own visions on the possible near future of work, alternative ones to the dominant idea of future. We have to take our present choices in order to create our desirable futures.
This is why Nefula is studying the present and the futures of work, moved by selfish reasons and intellectual curiosity.
But if we don’t have answers or directions yet, there is one thing that really makes us very convinced: we will never ever eat Soylent or do 10-minutes-workout-for-desk during our lunch break, even in the near or very far future!
Cover image credit: The Founder project