many work style configurations. This social construct is explored in This is a Real Job.
According to the Freelancers Union (http://www.freelancersunion.org/), a free virtual
platform for independent workers launched in 2001, 42 million U.S. workers are now
situated as freelancers or contract workers. The Freelancers Union is bringing critical issues
to the forefront that impacts the “independent” worker. Although the Freelancers Union
uses the term “independent,” the term “interdependent” is more apropos for media workers
given that they work collaboratively with clients, are relationally networked, and often serve
as part of a creative team. Regardless, the Freelancers Union is bringing to light core
concerns such as taxes and delinquent payments along with revamping health insurance,
which have been traditionally tied to full-time employment.
Stacey Vanek Smith reveals how “More Americans Shift to Contract Work” on American
Public Radio Marketplace. This segment discusses the far-ranging implications for an
American workforce where a third of the citizens in the U.S. now have to assume the
burden for healthcare, unemployment, disability, and retirement. Andrew Ross, a work and
culture expert at New York University, already sees this impacting his students and notes,
“They’re terrified quite frankly. . .and more and more students are doing double majors or
cramming in as many minors as they can to equip themselves with as many skills as they
can amass” (Smith, 2011 September 7). The onus of responsibility is swiftly moving from
the corporation to the individual while governmental structures and support systems lag
way behind. A population of educated citizens with skills and ambition, who pay the taxes
that have funded bailouts and stimulation packages, now wonder where is their bailout as
they cobble together a living? Click the following link to hear Marketplace segment
The media workers participating in this project demonstrate the improvisational skills,
discipline, and brainpower needed to stay current, agile and connected in the rapidly
shifting creative industries. They also have the self-care knowledge to balance and
recalibrate from the intensity of a deadline-driven business, which requires significant
energy and even more so during the recent economic downturn because of increased
hours and decreased wages.
The Migrant Creative: U.S. Media Freelancers at the Border of a Changing Work Culture
examines the ever-changing lives of media freelancers. There are limited work histories of
freelance media workers, especially those with portfolios and careers spanning multiple
disciplines and decades that candidly, publicly reveal their story. This dissertation is an
attempt to fill that gap.
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