Ayad Rahim, a journalist and radio commentator continues to write independently, but also
has sideline businesses of home renovation and book selling, while pursuing a graduate
education in history. These participants are able to traverse multiple career configurations
built on the backbone of a strong survival instincts coupled with creative chutzpah – and
consequently they are continually reinventing themselves through their work.
The other “Migrant Creative” project participants operate primarily as freelancers and
multitask with similar intensity. Laura Paglin, a filmmaker, continues to develop a variety of
commercial and documentary projects (http://www.facingforwardfilm.com/about-the-film/).
Alan McElroy, a screenwriter, just optioned three screenplays for film and works for multiple
networks and studios in all phases of production development
(http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0568416/). Carol Beck, a videographer for major national
accounts, also blogs on a website she created, “Growing Orbits: Think, Connect,
Meditate, Laugh.” In addition, Carol’s documentary work the Emory-Tibetan Partnership
allows her to stay aligned with her Buddhist community overseas and in Atlanta
(http://tibet.emory.edu/). All of these participants work on multiple levels and are inviting
me by example to seek out a richer, more varied, and interesting career.
With our financial recovery in process, our view of the government or corporation as
protector has waned and so has our view of a “real job.” It is not surprising to witness a
new worker emerging from the rubble at the beginning of the
century – a sturdier and
more resilient contractor, consultant or media freelancer – an interdependent worker who is
able to seek and develop projects aligned with their passions and expertise across the
diverse terrain of academia, think tanks, corporate, and entrepreneurial domains.
This notion of a steady singular job for relatively long periods of time (e.g. tenure teaching)
is now being supplanted with the migratory idea of project-based work, for an agreed upon
time, and then moving on to the next watering hole. The media workers involved in this
story were essentially pioneering this lifestyle before the rest of the workforce appropriated
it. With freelance moving into the forefront, not necessarily by design but by necessity,
what it does offer is an alternative option that can stand-alone or complement a variety of
work style configurations. A “real job” in the future, like a “regular family,” will present many
more work style choices and interdependent initiatives – including shared space,
collectivization, bartering, trading, time-sharing, gifting – and more employment
arrangements than we could have imagined.