Many aspects of Appreciative Inquiry, an examination of what is working in the
organizational realm, is moving into the everyday as evidenced with the book Appreciative
Living: The Principles of Appreciative Inquiry in Personal Life (Kelm, 2005). All of the above
efforts and individuals are inviting us to imagine a different future, which includes the notion
of not only having a career but also a life that works for you. With increased competition
and compressed wages, the media freelancers involved with this project are demonstrating
that this work style does not have the same standalone capacity it had before. They are
hanging on but also considering new possibilities by shifting to full-time, part-time, returning
to school, working on their own creative projects, maintaining freelance while some are
moving to the entrepreneurial realm. The project participants are a microcosm for a
tremendous improvisational shift happening throughout the entire economy.
Is this kind of work sustainable for even the most experienced freelancers? Marc Jaffe, the
comedy writer and philanthropist, suggests that freelancers need to examine their career
from a long-term perspective, “You have to look at freelance as a whole career and there
will be times when I will have a steady paycheck and times when I won’t” (Jaffe, see The
Liminal Freelance Landscape). While the rest of the workforce is gravitating toward more
flexible employment, the freelancers involved with this project are already a step ahead
because they have been in the self-employed domain for a long time. They represent a
new movement toward career improvisation and the juggling act of balancing multiple
career styles many at the same time. Thus drawing on a constructions perspective, I am
interested in closing the gap on the personal narrative of media workers at the crossroads
of a changing economy, technology, and work culture. Using an appreciative and relational
perspective, the curtain of anonymity in the lives of media workers will be pulled back on
both the personal and professional fronts. On this stage, the media worker gets to tell the
making of his/her own story in the changing market place. All of the aforementioned
literature is merely a small portion of the ideas shaping this dissertation along with
appreciative inquiry, dialogic engagement, and social constructionist thinkers and writers
who have influenced my ideas and are featured in the four chapters that constitute The
Macro Narratives.
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