Future of work, digital nomad, Simone Okkels

The future of work: Why I decided to quit my nine to five

There are many of us. And there are going to be more. In the future of work digital natives and nomads are motivated by other things than money. I decided to go out of the norm and start for myself last year. It was the best decision of my life. 

I have never been one to settle down. One to miss out on anything. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to try everything, go everywhere.

That is a lie.

As a kid, I was very timid and expressed great caution to new people and experiences. I rather miss out than be insecure. That has changed. Drastically. And I’m happy it did.

Last year, I took the plunge. I decided to take actively part in the future of work. To become self-employed casting away all the job securities that we otherwise get in Denmark and Scandinavia. I traded it for freedom. Freedom to choose my own assignments, my own path. Freedom to travel wherever I want whenever I want. Freedom to be my own boss.

Read more: Cutting edge technology in the North

What is job security today?

I don’t think it is that much more insecure that a steady job in a challenged media sector. Than working every day feeling exhausted and unsatisfied with one’s tasks. Being nervous about the next salary review or cut in staff. Getting more and more used to handle only one particular type of job. In the future of work you have to be able to adjust.

I’m not nervous about making my goals every month. Or some days I am. But then I do something about it. I immediately take action because I can’t rely on anybody else to do it. I am my own safety net.

Of course, I have some assignments that look the same every week. Of course, I still do jobs that might not look that interesting on paper. But they can be. If I do it well that job might lead to a new job or a new customer. And I can do the more tedious repetitive stuff from sweet locations; my favorite café, on my terrace, or in New York. Last year I worked from California, Finland, Portugal, Germany, Sweden. This year started out with a trip to Lisbon and Austin. Sometimes I just sit at home. It takes a helluva a backbone, a sense of structure and an old school work ethic. Mix that with curiosity, a laptop and wanderlust and you’ve got yourself a digital nomad.

Read about my 72 hours in Israel: Three cities in three days

I found out that I was part of a movement. One of many Millennials around the world that look for something else than just money and security from a job. That look for personal growth, meaning, well-being, too.

Are you ready for the future of work?

In a world where technology is accelerating the development of the economy and the industry and tasks are being changed even faced out, I believe we have to prepare for a more diversified working life.

By 2020, experts predict that millennials will make up 35 percent of the global workforce with Gen Z making up 24 percent. That means that half the world’s population has grown up as digital natives, being used to sharing instead of owning, caring more about new opportunities, recognition, communication, and work/life balance than money.

Today, I am still a journalist. But I am also in sales, marketing, social media, and communication. I do workshops, talks, facilitate knowledge and networks and help with sparring. I have diversified my own business, and I am always looking for new ways to grow it as I see fit.

Read: In Israel, everyone is a CEO

Luck doesn’t cut it

Some say I’m lucky. I don’t believe in luck. I believe in hard work and positive energy. So when people call me lucky they downplay the amounts of hard work that I have put into getting to where I am today.

I would still be stuck in a day job, working too many hours for too little if I hadn’t worked hard to carve a niche for myself and activating my network. To whom I attribute a lot of the learning that has helped me along the way. I was so stressed that I couldn’t sleep. I lost my hair, and for a brief period, I even struggled to read and write. I was angry. At everyone. But the fact was, that I was the one responsible. 

Today, I work many hours each week. But it feels good. I’m not stressed anymore. I make more money or the same as before, but even the months where I don’t, I still go to work with a smile on my face. Because I take responsibility for myself. I am not motivated by money as much as freedom. And I have never felt freer or more fulfilled than now.

Also read: Key takeaways from Your Next Portfolio Company is Nordic

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