Hack Your Work: Now More Than Ever

In 2010, HBR called Josh’s and my book, Hacking Work, one of the Top Ten Breakthrough Ideas of that year. Now I’m seeing why.

(That link above gets you a free downloadable copy! Enjoy!)

As reported in Forbes, for many, Careers are Dead. Welcome to Your Low-Wage, Temp Job.
By 2020, almost 30% of Americans will be at or below the poverty line
 Over 40% more of us hold temp jobs than in 2009
 GenY, the newest entrants to the job market, are likely to have a career dotted with temp jobs

With that future, many will push back: “Are you crazy, now is not the time to break or bend the rules! Now is the time to suck it up and be a suck up. Don’t piss anybody off!”

Hellllllooooooo?! While I agree we shouldn’t be pissing off our bosses, we also should not be following rules that are destined to keep us powerless against the ravages of the economy. We’ve got to find ways to succeed differently than what we’re forced into. We’ve got to take control of our own futures.

If you are risk-averse: There are soft hacks. These are nothing more than the age-old practice of working your relationship with your boss to get what you want. Only now the stakes are a lot higher than no-big-deal changes, like switching vacation days. Instead, we should be reworking the deal we’re handed through ongoing discussions with our bosses, so our job gets us more of what we need. (See pages 35—44 in download for more.) 

If you need to take more control: There are hard hacks. These change the non-living systems you’re handed. From as no-risk as using your gmail address for work correspondence instead of the company-assigned address (thus freeing you of how they want you to work), to higher-risk, such as working around their stupid firewalls so you can work more productively. These hacks are not for everybody. But while they are higher risk, they are also higher return! Giving you a lot more control over your future. (See download for lots of ideas on how to do this)

Even if those hacks are not for you: You must have a hack-the-system project that develops a new product or service. You must become an entrepreneur! Even if you also have a full- or part-time job! No one should depend solely on paychecks. Everyone needs to have their own business!

Hack your work. Now, more than ever.

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