Do You Have a Body Of Work
Our forefathers had a craft, a particular skill they worked at every day. Our grandparents had a career, something they started where the endpoint was dictated by financial ability to retire and pursue passion projects. Our parents have jobs, something that seems disposable and is mostly seen as a means to other things. The greatest story ever told was one of ultimate safety, the office cubicle. Turns out the most dangerous thing you can do is pursue safety, by pursuing safety you deny life itself, your skin thins, a strong breeze pushes you onto the road and you have about as much command of your attention as a baby in a ball pit. Not to mention the average amount of jobs had in a lifetime of work is now at 22.
Such extreme amounts of unfocused orientation is concerning.
Because of the age of connection, we now have to apply effort if we want to get ‘offline’. This has eliminated 2 major problems to the workforce. The first is geography, we are no longer constrained to a physical location, we have virtual offices, virtual assistance, and paperless documents. The second is time, we can turn our laptop on and find something to do at any of the days. Side note, there will always be a never-ending pile of ‘things to do’ so by rushing and pressuring yourself you only speed up the rate of entropy (timelines exempt from this). We are in an interesting place at the moment because for the first time in history employment rates are extremely high but the minimum wage has dropped. This shift has occurred because of ‘gig jobs’ Uber, Deliveroo etc.
Individuals have more opportunity now than ever to be the master of their fate. Any solution comes with new problems and if you are on the bandwagon of the digital age and working from cafes I suggest you strongly consider the premise of this writing.
In the time of gig jobs, projects, the online age and the increased ability to spread your skills thin you are going to want to have an idea on how to centralise the random nature of the current workspace. The cost of not doing this will be years and years of work with nothing to show for it. The craftsman has a suit of his best designs that can even extend generations, the lawyer has a trophy cabinet of challenging cases won where justice was served and the dressmaker has pieces of art worn by the infamous or taken off by the famous.
What centralising story can you tell with an Instagram account or online fitness business? What happens when your cash cow idea has no scalability and you are forced to move into the ‘conventional workspace’ with an extremely thin resume that has little relevance?
A way to start thinking about this is your ‘body of work’ a term used to define the total sum of your efforts? and without a ‘body’ you are left with simply work, nothing that spans time or relevance.
For example, we did some work with a client who did an extremely good job of leveraging his business into multiple markets. He had products in physically fixing vehicles, digital software that competitors could use and even a registered training arm attached to skill and re-tool people. The owner had no centralising point of consolidation of previous clients, results achieved, a philosophy to pass on, a higher ideal to build towards or a core question to answer. Therefore for all his efforts it remained random. We worked with this gentleman until the point of every piece of work he engaged with added a piece to his philosophy, his central question and a development of a new theory in the industry.
So when its all said and done ( and throughout) what looks random is contributing to a very ordered system and philosophy where each client journey ads to the body of work.