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Free Agent Nation
Cover of Free Agent Nation
Free Agent Nation
How Americans New Independent Workers Are Transforming the Way We Live
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Widely acclaimed for its engaging style and provocative perspective, this book has helped thousands transform their working lives. Now including a 30-page resource guide that explains the basics of...
Widely acclaimed for its engaging style and provocative perspective, this book has helped thousands transform their working lives. Now including a 30-page resource guide that explains the basics of...
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Description-

  • Widely acclaimed for its engaging style and provocative perspective, this book has helped thousands transform their working lives. Now including a 30-page resource guide that explains the basics of working for oneself.
    It's about fulfillment. A revolution is sweeping America. On its front lines are people fed up with unfulfilling jobs, dysfunctional workplaces, and dead-end careers. Meet today's new economic icon: the free agent-men and women who are working for themselves. And meet your future.
    It's about freedom. Free agents are the marketing consultant down the street, the home-based "mompreneur," the footloose technology contractor. Already 30 million strong, these 21st-century pioneers are creating lives with more meaning-and often more money. Free Agent Nation is your ticket to this world.
    It's about time. Now, you can discover:
  • The kind of free agent you can be-"soloist," "temp," or "microbusiness"-and how to launch your new career.
  • How to get the perks you once received from your boss: health insurance, office space, training, workplace togetherness, even water cooler gossip.
  • Why the free agent economy is increasingly a woman's world-and how women are flourishing in it.
  • The transformation of retirement-how older workers are creating successful new businesses (and whole new lives) through the Internet.

Excerpts-

  • From the book
    Prologue

    I suppose I realized that I ought to consider another line of work when I nearly puked on the Vice President of the United States.

    It was a sweltering June day in Washington, D.C. -- the kind of day that drenches your shirt and sours your mood. I was completing my second year as then Vice President Al Gore's chief speechwriter. And I was doing it hunched in front of my computer, banging on the keyboard, hoping that when my fingers stopped I'd have produced another sentence, and that this new sentence would move me closer to completing one of two speeches that were due that afternoon.

    Seated at nearby desks were two other, only slightly less beleaguered, speechwriters with whom I shared a large and mangy office. Even on this most oppressive of days, we wore the mandatory uniform for White House men: suit pants, a starched shirt, and a tie cinched to the Adam's apple. Room 267 always smelled vaguely like a junior high locker room, but today was especially rank. As a climatological sauna baked the nation's capital, here in our own mini-seat of power, the air-conditioning had gone kaput. But away I typed, skittering ever nearer to finishing each speech, even as I melted into my cheap, gray chair.

    At 5:45 that evening, I pulled both speeches from my printer, and scooted to the Vice President's West Wing office, about sixty paces down the hall from the Oval Office. At 6:00 P.M. the schedule called for "speech prep," a peculiar meeting, wherein the Vice President reads your speech and explains what he likes -- or, more often, what he doesn't-- as you sit there, mostly silent, absorbing the critique. This particular speech prep, however, was better than most. Gore was lighthearted and jokey (his office, let history record, had air-conditioning that day), and mostly satisfied with the texts. When the meeting began breaking up after about forty-five minutes, I lifted myself out of my chair -- and immediately felt nauseated and light-headed.

    I walked out of the Vice President's office, shut his imposing mahogany door behind us, and lingered in his waiting room, where still more aides answered phones, screened visitors, and guarded the inner sanctum. Noticing that I was wobbly, one of my colleagues said, "Dan, you look green."

    "Yeah," I responded. "I don't feel so good."

    The next thing I remember I was regaining consciousness, seated in a waiting room chair. And I was vomiting -- steadily, calmly, like a seasoned pro. Not onto the plush vice presidential carpet fortunately, but into a ceremonial bowl that was a gift, I think, from the Queen of Denmark. (I've since learned that under certain interpretations of international treaties, my regurgitation could be construed as an act of war against the Nordic nation.) I looked up and blinked away the haze to reveal the horrified faces of my colleagues, unaccustomed to such displays in the West Wing. My first thought: "Oh no, this is how they're going to remember me. After all the blood I've sweated, the great lines I've written, the indignities I've endured, I'm going to be known as the guy who upchucked in the Veep's office."

    Before long, Gore emerged from behind his office door, surveyed the scene, squared his heels to look at me, and drawled, "But Daaaaann. I said I liiiiiked the speech." Then after being assured by the ever-present Secret Service agent that I was a threat to neither his safety nor the U.S. Constitution, he returned to his office.

Reviews-

  • Library Journal

    April 15, 2001
    Not all "free agents" are highly paid athletes whose main skills are dunking a basketball or hitting a baseball. In fact, as Pink (contributing editor, Fast Company) reveals, over 25 million Americans are now self-employed, and fewer than one in ten works for a Fortune 500 company. This excellent work synthesizes the seismic shift in attitudes about and patterns of work in the economy from the early 1950s era of William Whyte's The Organization Man to today's independent worker, the free agent. Pink astutely summarizes what this major shift in the definition of employment now means to millions of Americans and explains the various types of free agents (including soloists, temps, and those involved in their own microbusiness). Other chapters cover examples of how self-sufficiency works so well for numerous life situations, while in many cases free-agency employment does not work well at all. This work may not be rooted in empirical research, but Pink's thorough review of the literature and his extensive roadwork interviewing hundreds of independent workers successfully merges psychosocial data with pragmatic reality. This major contribution to better understanding the trend toward independent contract work is highly recommended for all university libraries and larger public libraries. Dale Farris, Groves, TX

    Copyright 2001 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    April 15, 2001
    With Manpower, Inc., the temporary agency, the nation's largest private employer and one-quarter to one-third of American workers operating as "free agents," this author offers analysis of this "new economy" and advice on how to succeed in it. The "Fast Company" cover story that Pink, a former Gore chief speechwriter, wrote on the growth of "free agency" produced so much feedback that he traveled across the country with his young family to interview "America's new independent workers" for this book. Pink examines facts and figures, explores the roots of increasing free agency, and considers the new work ethic, employment contract, and time clock it generates. He outlines the structure of free-agent work and major disruptions (especially for "involuntary" free agents) and offers some predictions about how this new paradigm will affect institutional arrangements, including education, "e-tirement," real estate, finance, and politics. Pink understands how busy free agents are; each chapter closes with "The Box," which punchily summarizes the chapter's key points. (Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2001, American Library Association.)

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How Americans New Independent Workers Are Transforming the Way We Live
Daniel H. Pink
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