Monday, February 10, 2014

Worry About Being ‘Employable’ not ‘Employed’

This is an email I just received from Ken Phillips, of Independent Contractors of Australia. I'm coming up to two years since I've been on anybody's payroll. Sure, I have major (anchor) clients and it'd be no fun if they went out of business or stopped using me but it's better to have some businesses as major clients than as employers.

As an employee I was often desperately nervous that the business would fold (or lose volume) and employing me wouldn't make sense to them. Keeping another person's business strong was something that I was never invited to do, except from within my narrow job role. I was simply sitting in the back of a truck that someone else was driving. Anybody who watched me sit in the cabin of a Cessna 206 the other day as the pilot landed our plane knows that a lack of control (over my own destiny) drives me mad.

So, Ken's email was a timely reminder. It's printed here in full - I hope Ken is cool with that. I like all my clients and don't want to lose a single one of them, but it pays to remember to:

Worry About Being ‘Employable’ not ‘Employed’

In the quickly changing world of work we claim that being ‘independent’ is a great social and economic step forward. But there are still those who see what we do as a curse, suppressing incomes and increasing inequality.

Read this and you’ll discover how ‘we’ are bad. However, you should also check the comments at the end of the article from independent contractors who offer a different perspective.

The ‘eLabour’ trend
The change to independent work is not going to stop, however. Our friends in Massachusetts have alerted us to how ‘eLabour’ is changing the face of ‘employment’ across the globe. The Wall St Journal says that it’s necessary to focus on being ‘employable’ rather than ‘employed’. More comment from ‘New Jobs for Massachusetts’.

The thing is, clarity is needed about independent status. In New York, they are working in this direction. The Governor has signed a new law ensuring independent status for owner-drivers. Significantly, even if truckies work for one client, they retain their independent status. This is a commonsense recognition of commercial reality.

Becoming organized to defend our rights!
The New York development is a sign of a push-back against the damaging US ‘misclassification’ laws. It’s also good to see a new organization in the USA has been set up to defend independent contractors: In the UK, a new group has been formed to defend ‘entrepreneurs’:  It’s groups like these that we’re looking to work with internationally to improve protections for the right of people to be self-employed entrepreneurs.

In Australia we’re also seeing some good developments. Robert Gottliebsen in Business Spectator describes important reforms brewing on tax administration for self-employed people. This is the agenda being driven by Small Business Minister Bruce Billson.
Ken Phillips and the
Team at Independent Contractors Australia

‘Be proud of yourself’

PS: Focusing on the ‘personal’ is essential for success in being your own boss. Eve Pearce has supplied us a good ‘thinking’ article on being self-employed and the pressures and the temptations of drugs!

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