Fast Company

Scandalous Change

There is an interesting story running on CNN/Money this week. The numbers of self-employed people -- no surprise, given layoffs and such -- are on the rise. It is thought that this might be due to the variety of corporate scandals from the last few years.

I agree that in some circles, there is a perception that "going corporate" may be a bad thing, especiallly when some view corporations as a potential labyrinth of ethical dilemmas. Some believe you can't help but fall to the dark side. While this opinion is clearly an exaggeration, I wonder if such a view is inherently bad. From these scandals we may get a generation of entrepreneurs who head out on their own to make their fortune and maybe change the world. Or maybe such influenced newcomers will enter the corporate field with the goal of changing it from the inside out, bringing more integrity and ethical standards.

Either way, this report is a good sign that people are being affected by the many corporate scandals. That can't be a bad thing. What do you believe, FC readers?

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  • Frank McClung

    It's been almost 4 years since Daniel Pink's groundbreaking work, Free Agent Nation alerted the corporate powers that their favorite lackey, the Organization Man, was dying and a new type of person was emerging--Free Agents. I think that what we are witnessing in the rising numbers of self-employed is the deinstitutionalization/corporatization of society and the return of the individual, family and community to the center of national life. Employment is just one area where folks are bolting from institutionalized prisons. Try healthcare (the rise of the midwifery), eldercare (the rise of at home care for the elderly), education (the rise of homeschooling), sports (the return of highly individualized sports like skateboarding), and the list could go on. The rising tide of the self employed won't be stemmed with more ethics or integrity in corporations or institutions. Once folks taste the freedom of pursuing their passions and dreams, not the corporations/institutions, they won't go back. At the heart of the matter for the self employed is the desire to rehumanize life and to close the gulf between passion and profession that currently exists. Check out B L A N K, a blog that is exploring these issues or try Worthwhile magazine. Both good sources of reconnection.