a variable depending on the level of collaboration required. Therefore, the topography of
freelance is more than just about land but where the freelancers’ find themselves in
relationship to the geography, proximity, community and other influences that allow us to
understand the social construction of interdependent enterprise (Florida, 2008, 2011;
Gergen, 2009), This chapter was started December 2012 with many revisions and the last
edit was in March, 2013 with a subsequent revision before submitting to committee.
Now that over one-third of the adult workforce is engaged in contract work according to
the online Freelancers Union, the term “real job” is shifting and undergoing reconstruction.
The Chapter, This is a “Real Job,” explores how the term “real job,” like the phrase “regular
family,” will present many more work style configurations and has the potential to move us
towards a more expansive discourse when it comes to employment (Burr, 1995; Gergen et
al., 2009). A common theme for many of the project participants is that many remember
the voices of anxious family members asking, “when are you going to get a real or regular
job?” The freelancers still hear internal voices or “social ghosts” (Gergen at al, 2009) that
speak to the concern that they will have a diminished life without the benefits of a steady
paycheck, pension, stock, options and healthcare. With the rest of the workforce suffering
from the subprime meltdown, there is no going back and now we look to the
improvisational flexibility of the freelancer for guidance as they discuss the challenges,
adaptations and rewards of working in a precarious and constantly shifting industry (Neff,
2007; Gill as cited at Deuze, 2011). This chapter submitted in March 2012 with edits from
adviser in June and revision planned before submission.
A Conversation About Negotiation and Sustainability demonstrates the ongoing,
continuous process of freelance engagement through mutual coordination (Gergen et al.,
2009); the conversational trinity of listening, hearing, and speaking (Anderson & Gehart,
2007); appreciative capacity building (Dixon & Adamson, 2011; Bisen, 2011); engaging
discovery (Holman, 2010) and cultivating appreciative moments (Whitney et al., 2005) that
moves the conversation from “working for” to “working with.” The workforce of the future
requires not only relational engagement but also a commitment to physical, emotional,
mental and spiritual revitalization to create new possibilities (Schwartz, 2012; McNamee,
2005). This chapter submitted in April 2012 with subsequent revisions by adviser the last
being in July 2012. Intended corrections before submitting to committee.
The Generative Years: Living What’s Next reveal the improvisational skills needed to
creatively thrive but also demonstrates how these project participants are becoming new
role models for “positive aging” (Gergen & Gergen, 2001, 2010) along with presenting
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