From my recent post “on global citizens and avatars“:
A global citizen is not the one that travels the globe rushing from one destination to the next at the furious pace its business demand, but the one that roams the roads of a city or the world open to the opportunities that serendipity will bring, architecting with each moment a fulfilling life devoted to creating value for the communities he touches, combining his skills with the resources available. Such a nice maxim for any traveller, you must be thinking.
It must be a sign of our times that at the peak of my professional career I find myself as a “free agent”, wannabe entrepreneur or as our governments label those in my situation: “unemployed”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m saying this with a very upbeat tone. I do no more than 25 hours of billable work per week, which allows me to devote the rest of my time to really productive ventures that nobody is paying for. Even better: I’m not alone and therein lies the radical change that is happening in our society.
While I keep meticulous track and invoice hours worked for clients, just as many hours are spent in other ventures that don’t pay with money but are perhaps more valuable to the future of the communities in which I live. Building powerful relationships with strangers that share a common goal, mentoring younger talent, building-up my local community, curating the endless stream of information, participating in open source projects or simply making sure that I’m a diligent digital citizen. Most of these task are off-the-record, produce no income, pay no taxes and yet I’m certain in the long run will have the most impact to society. So next time you read those scary unemployment statistics in the newspaper, rejoice.
Lately I’ve been having fun catching up on things like HTML5, CSS3, JQuery, Ajax, mobile platforms and how they have evolved in the context of location technology. Being at the top of my game has also given me a renewed confidence that bigger, more complex problems can be solved with less effort. And not only the technical, but the meaningful kind. For example, I came across Venessa, a brilliant blogger exploring the future of collaboration and with little concern for “getting paid” I devoted an entire session to offer insights based on my recent ethnographic adventures. By the end of it I had realized that although her article was meant as a “vision”, I was reading it as a specification that was technically feasible and within my reach. THAT would probably be very valuable to her.
We commute to work every day without realizing that perhaps the most powerful connections in our network are not those that await for us at the office, but those that we haven’t discovered in our communities. They are not about to offer you a new job or even give you money, but they are very likely to produce long term value.
Trying to figure out how we can alter our behavior to encourage the kind of social interactions that will produce meaningful connections with the potential to create value in our communities sounds like a massive challenge, but I just happen to be at the top of my game and confident enough to make it my next adventure.