Listen. I Don’t Want To Be A Leader.

I have chosen a different path. Could you?

This is written for all those people who are getting just a little bit tired of all these Steve Jobs articles. I’ll be the first to admit that the advice in most of these articles is enlightening, and much of it is highly relevant for our wider lives. However, not all of us strive to lead a global corporation, few of us have managed more than ten people, and increasingly more of us yearn for something entirely different.

A corporate career is not the only option anymore. Founding a heavily funded start-up might be fashionable, but it isn’t the only way to earn a living. It is fascinating hearing about how Google hires and about Elon Musk’s latest barnstorming idea – people do get inspiration for their own careers, but for many of us, these feats are merely the stuff of dreams.

No, I am writing about the increasing amount of people who are going to be part of the collaborative economy of the next century. They are driven by work / life balance. They want to be in control of their careers in the longer term. They want to avoid the corporate scrap heap when they reach their 50s. The portfolio career is taking over.

According to a September 2014 PWC study “The future of work. A journey to 2022”, 46% of HR professionals expect at least 20% of their workforce to be made up of contractors or temporary workers by 2022. PWC say that 2 out of 5 people around the world believe that traditional employment won’t be around in the future. Instead, people will have their own “brands” and sell their skills to those who need them.

Here is their description of this future employee:

“You are a flexible, fast operator who prefers to work on your own terms often for multiple employers at a time. You are highly tech-savvy and have strong social, business and collaborative networks, which you predominantly manage online. You are not contained by the 9-to-5 office culture; you prefer to work whenever and wherever it suits you and among a diverse mix of people. You pick and choose the projects or companies you work for, and negotiate the best deal possible for your services and time. Agility, speed and flexibility are key to your success.”

Oh yeah. I’ll have a bit of that.

There are so many people out there living this dream right at this moment, and many of them blog about their trials and tribulations on LinkedIn. They are my true inspiration, and I am their loyal follower, part of their growing social “tribe.” Most are fascinating, many are prospering, but all are in charge of their lives.

So, if corporate life is getting you down, if you get home too late to kiss your kids goodnight, if your diary is filled with pointless meetings about pointless initiatives….. there is another way.

When you have made the decision, there is no going back.

Well, you could, but you won’t want to.

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