When it comes to our careers and our experience at work, we’ve become selfish—but in a good way. Getting paid is no longer enough; we expect to actually learn on the job. We want our skills to be fully utilized and are left unsatisfied by “easy jobs.” We want more responsibility when we’re ready, rather than waiting until we’ve “put in our time.” We expect to do more of what we love, automating the more laborious and monotonous parts of our work.
Chalk it up to new technology, social media, or the once out-of-reach business tools now at your fingertips. The fact is, we’re empowered to work on our own terms and do more with less. As a result, we expect more from those that employ us and we expect more from ourselves. When we get the resources and opportunities we deserve, we create the future.
Here’s a name for us: Free Radicals.
Free Radicals want to take their careers into their own hands and put the world to work for them. Free Radicals are resilient, self-reliant, and extremely potent. You’ll find them working solo, in small teams, or within large companies. As the world changes, Free Radicals have re-imagined “work” as we know it. No doubt, we have lofty expectations:
We do work that is, first and foremost, intrinsically rewarding But, we don’t create solely for ourselves, we want to make a real and lasting impact in the world around us.
We thrive on flexibility and are most productive when we feel fully engaged We demand freedom, whether we work within companies or on our own, to run experiments, participate in multiple projects at once, and move our ideas forward.
We make stuff often, and therefore, we fail often Ultimately, we strive for little failures that help us course-correct along the way, and we view every failure as a learning opportunity, part of our experiential education.
We have little tolerance for the friction of bureaucracy, old-boy networks, and antiquated business practices As often as possible, we question “standard operating procedure” and assert ourselves. But even when we can’t, we don’t surrender to the friction of the status quo. Instead, we find clever ways (and hacks) around it.
We expect to be fully utilized and constantly optimized, regardless of whether we’re working in a startup or a large organization When our contributions and learning plateau, we leave. But when we’re leveraging a large company’s resources to make an impact in something we care about, we are thrilled! We want to always be doing our best work and making the greatest impact we can.
We consider “open source” technology, API’s, and the vast collective knowledge of the Internet to be our personal arsenal Wikipedia, Quora, and open communities for designers, developers, and thinkers were built by us and for us. Whenever possible, we leverage collective knowledge to help us make better decisions for ourselves and our clients. We also contribute to these open resources with a “pay it forward” mentality.
We believe that “networking” is sharing People listen to (and follow) us because of our discernment and curatorial instinct. As we share our creations as well as what fascinates us, we authentically build a community of supporters that give us feedback, encouragement, and lead us to new opportunities. For this reason and more, we often (though, not always) opt for transparency over privacy.
We believe in meritocracy and the power of online networks and peer communities to advance our ability to do what we love, and do well by doing it
We view competition as a positive motivator rather than a threat, because we want the best idea – and the best execution – to triumph.
We make a great living doing what we love. We consider ourselves as both artisans and businesses
In many cases, we are our own accounting department, Madison Avenue marketing agency, business development manager, negotiator, and salesperson. We spend the necessary energy to invest in ourselves as businesses – leveraging the best tools and knowledge (most of which are free and online) to run ourselves as a modern-day enterprise.
Excerpt from Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build an Incredible Career by Jocelyn K. Glei — foreword by Scott Belsky.