The New Deal Is About Bringing Work To Your Life
The creative potential achieved through fulfilling work described earlier seems a bit elusive
as media freelancers are just now trying to make a living. Fast-forward to the 1990s, where
stock options catapulted techno-geeks to millionaire superstar status overnight, and “rag to
riches” narratives escalated expectations for many creative individuals working in
technology and this attitude spilled over into media. Gina Neff posits an interesting view
that many in the dot-com era embraced risk because it provided the appearance of choice
-- and “the idea of taking chances” became the predominant economic rhetoric that
allowed people to weather the fear of uncertainty in the new economy (Neff, 2007 p. 33).
The turbulent economy for the 2000s, bookended by the dot-com crash and the global
recession, is where the shift occurred for many workers in the United States as they saw
jobs eliminated along with decreased wages and exacerbated deadlines. The new reality of
“at least I have a job” clearly trumped the seemingly indulgent voices saying, “I want a
fulfilling job.” The stories from the work front suggested a “doomsday prepper” attitude and
this drove a deeper wedge between corporate and creative. A new worker cynicism has
emerged with people realizing that risk is only rewarded on a corporate management level
or on Wall Street – and that people on Main Street are in trouble. Daniel Jacoby observes,
“U.S. workers will either have to tolerate this new situation or demand and design a new
“new deal” (Jacoby, 2009, p. 650).
There Is A New Work Consciousness Emerging: A Few Bold Companies
Provide A Model for Synergistic Cooperation
The workforce of the future is not just about monetary concerns but giving people the
flexibility to renew, create, and dream together. Although we have heard multiple stories
from these participants of unrealistic deadlines along with diminished wages -- there is a
glimmer of hope on the horizon with the emergence of new companies with a conscience.
Companies like Zappos.com, Google, SAS Institute, and Dream Works Animation are
consistently on Fortune’s magazine list for the top 100 places to work. View the 2012
profiled winners (http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/best-companies/).
These companies possess many of the attributes of a great place to work as described by
Tony Schwartz, the president of CEO of the Energy Project, in a recent article he wrote for
Fast Company. Schwartz suggests, “The answer is that great employers must shift the
focus from trying to get more out of people, to investing more in them by addressing their