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Part 5: e working > free at last

Chapter 34. free at last

Power shifts and the new economy are already having an effect on the way we work. Work is changing. And, once again, it's not just in Palo Alto. In the 1990s an unprecedented range of people took control of their own work, liberating themselves from the daily grind of nine-to-five jobs. For them singing the company song lost its appeal. Under their breath, many were already humming Frank Sinatra's refrain "My Way". "I was never really a banker. I was an entrepreneur working for a bank. I remember I was in some boring meeting in Portugal, and I just thought this isn't what I want to do with my life," says bagel queen Danielle Downing.

In the USA, tens of millions of people have now freed themselves from corporate control. According to Daniel Pink, formerly Vice-President Gore's chief speechwriter, there are 14 million self-employed Americans. There are 8.3 million independent contractors and a further 2.3 million who work for temporary agencies. This adds up to around 25 million free agents, he says, "people who move from project to project and who work on their own, sometimes for months, sometimes for days".


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