In today’s print edition of the Financial Times, David Bolchover averred that The self-employed are too busy to go surfing; commenting on the TUC criticism of blocking access to social networking sites, he meanders through the graveyard of worker apathy and ends with the assertion that “you will not find the self-employed immersed on Facebook for hours. The perception of working is irrelevant to them. They are paid for being productive, not for turning up”.
I think he’s managed to miss the point, spectacularly, while coming very close to it.
I agree with him that self-employed people are unlikely to be found “immersed on Facebook for hours”. But why single out self-employed people? This is true for other employed people as well, and probably for students and even for the unemployed. All this talk of immersion is so much hokum, I feel like taking a leaf out of Stephen Smoliar’s book and asking for “hard data”. My hard data is based on the self-employed people I know, who use Facebook without getting immersed or obsessive about it. My hard data is based on my kids and their friends. My hard data is based on watching my colleagues.
I agree as well with Bolchover’s assertion that “the perception of working is irrelevant to [the self-employed],” and that “they are paid for being productive, not for turning up”.Â But again why this belief that outcome-driven people must be self-employed? Sure, I’ve seen my fair share of furniture and time-servers in my time, but there are many talented people around. Many whose work ethic is based on results rather than effort, yet without sacrificing their values and their beliefs.
Everyone should be paid for being productive, not for turning up. That’s the whole point. Nothing to do with being self-employed or not, it’s a question of treating the company’s time as if it were your own. Even if you are self-employed.