I loved the January 18. 2010 BusinessWeek cover emblazoned with: The Permanent Temporary Workforce. Inside, I didn’t love it so much, because workers went from permanently temporary, to disposable. Workers aren’t disposable. I believe the new workforce is empowered, entrepreneurial and game changing. The recession has created an impetus for change. The workforce will never be the same, and neither will the workplace. People are increasingly taking control of their own fates and creating small businesses where they can use their unique skills to earn money yes, but also to offer value in entirely new ways now that they are unshackled from the utilitarian myopia of corporate hierarchies.
The permanent temporary workforce is anything but disposable. It is essential to the tectonic shaking the American work experience. If American businesses don’t embrace the change, and take advantage of this enormous skill base in an effective way, the world will soon know of it, and that disposal workforce will be an unavailable workforce because they will be earning a good living selling their skills and knowledge to foreign competitors. America has become the brain trust of the world. If the government and business has forgotten that, the American people have not, and they will redefine the game and leave their former employers behind.
Daniel W. Rasmus, Founder and Principal Analyst of Serious Insights, is an internationally recognized speaker on the future of work and education. He is the author of several books, including Listening to the Future and Management by Design.