These participants showcase the new style of creative who freely enters multiple work
configurations of contract, salaried, freelance, full-time, part-time while also tending to their
own entrepreneurial ventures and often at the same time. This is not only redefining
freelance but also changing the definition of what incorporates a “real job.”
What I Have Learned From These Migrant Creatives
Freelance Has Permanently Expanded The Definition of a “Real Job”
For years, the idea of a full-time position with benefits was considered the benchmark for
what constitutes a “real job.” As one-third of the workforce and growing now enters the
ranks of freelance employment, the definition of what constitutes a “real job” is expanding
and this is explored in the chapter “This is a Real Job.” These freelancers attest to the
“realness” of their work as they negotiate contracts, create projects, critically evaluate and
design media, determine their worth, forge new relationships, and decide where to focus
their energy. The definition of a “real job” is undergoing rapid social change in a fashion
comparable to how the notion of a “regular family” has been irrevocably altered. In the
chapter, I explore how a “real job” is a construct that we have socially made up to imply a
9-5 job with a sense of permanency or security based on performance.
The 21st Century Workforce Is Shifting From Independent to Interdependent
The terms “real job” and “independent” worker are clearly being redefined at the beginning
of the 21st century to reflect an “interdependent” reality that incorporates a more mobile,
transient workforce and the freelancer is on the frontline of this change. The migrant
creative experience is one of adaptation, improvisation, and a recognizing that we are all
connected. That is a huge shift in thinking from the competitive diatribe of “every man for
himself” or “it’s a dog eat dog world” philosophy that dominated in the 20th century.
Because of our connectivity with the Internet, from the participants’ narratives one can
glean that a creative migrant is one who can forge more interdependent alliances and
relationships, which are at the core of their continued success.
Whether freelancers are working in the neighborhood or overseas, positions are always
secured through recommendations of people who are aware of their performance
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