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Question – Will one-company people be the future of work?

How will job hopping affect our personal work experience and the shape of companies in the future? Our career coach offers their insight.

Question: Is the future a one-company person or a one-person company? – Carmen, UK

The future is almost certainly not a one-company person. It’s estimated that in their lifetime, Gen Z are expected to work 18 jobs spanning six careers. This is the continuation of a trend away from one-company-careers that began in the 1980s.

With all this job hopping and career pivoting, is it useful to think of ourselves as one-person companies? There are some good insights that come from taking this perspective.

We are forced to consider our USP, how we will keep our skills up to date, how well we are serving our ‘customers’, our personal brand and how we market ourselves, and what metrics we will use to measure success.

We also have the latitude to think about what kinds of projects we want to work on, who we want to work with, and how we want to spend our time.

Taking ownership of our careers this way can be empowering, and helps us to craft meaningful careers that can be moulded to suit changing preferences and circumstances.

As always, there are some downsides we need to consider. Thinking about work this way can also be very transactional, and we can miss opportunities to develop deep relationships with colleagues, or have the security and sense of belonging that comes from a long-term commitment between an employer and employee.