Last week the Freelance Conference team journeyed up to Dallas to meet with a new audience and four new panelists, to discuss the future of work. On this panel, sat Amy Margaret King of GoodWork, Craig Hulse, Director of Economic Development for the city of North Richland Hills, Nithya Govindasamy of Paul Quinn College and Brandon Bright of Gigster.


Like Houston and Austin before, Elijah started off with the question, “What comes to mind when you think of the future of work”? Before any of our panelists could jump in one audience member stated that they thought a lot of people were scared because traditional companies seem structured and safe while everything outside is completely different. To tie the audience member’s thought into what they see as the future of work, Elijah also asked them to consider how fear might be a factor.


All the panelist seemed to agree that a lot of this “fear” is derived from the fact that landscape of work is changing and the ways things had been done in the past are now being rapidly replaced whether by robots (as Elijah so thoughtfully mentioned) or just new techniques and technologies. Nithya thinks this fear is healthy as it spurs motivation, while Craig, Amy, and Brandon all feel that it’s a normal aspect of the evolution of work. Brandon goes further to state that this fear, and the question of “whether I will be able to adapt or not” is a huge driving point for the new workforce.


The topic of fear in the future of work was followed up by, in my opinion, a bang up statement (more so than a question) from an audience member which I will summarize to keep things brief, stating that the future of work started out some 20 years ago with changing the physical environment in which people worked in and has been slowly progressing. They stated that corporations want to be data driven. However if you are for instance a creative, that’s not something that is really possible. In summation, they stated that corporations want to look at employees in a lump or pile rather than in an individualized manner which in the long run could be detrimental. Everyone agrees with the idea that corporations want to digitize individualism and individualization and that to an extent it is completely absurd.


Circling back to the original questions, “what was the first thing that came to mind when you heard “the future of work”, Amy jumped in and said the blurring of lines between work and life and how our lives are changing due to business and technology stating that there are fewer boundaries and more flexibility. That in a sense we are all becoming our own bosses, figuring out what works and doesn’t work for each of us as individuals. Craig pulled together the notion that how will whatever the future of work will affect the current infrastructures we use that enable us to work such as office buildings, roads etc. Nithya brought up the idea that we are in essence trying to predict the future. In her mind, we are guessing at what future looks like and then trying to teach our students based on what we think will happen despite the distinct possibility that it could all change.


And with that, Elijah asked the all important, “How do you teach adaptability?”.  While the panelist all had their different takes, we won’t spoil it for you. Watch the video below.