On the way to an independent employment

Guest contribution by | 21.03.2019

Agility, New Work and Remote Work – Freedom means more independence.

The future of work leads us on new ways and it is very clear – whoever moves agilely and dynamically towards new freedom on the job must always work more independently and act accordingly. Those who take on responsibility and are able to make decisions will have good career opportunities in the future. But which factors lead to independence and why is the topic so important today?

The work of tomorrow – Why we are becoming more independent

In most cases, becoming independent is already an unspoken prerequisite for employers. It is interesting to see how the term and its meaning have changed from the past to the present. Quite honestly – often independent working is first desired, but hierarchies and monotonous tasks without any free space destroy independence. This is a scenario that has occurred very frequently, especially in earlier times.

But today it looks different! New work, agility and different working models often make self-employment a real MUST at work. In addition, many want to get out of old hierarchies, want self-realization and freedom, want responsibility and meaningfulness. A good example where self-employment in the job becomes a MUST is Remote Work: Remote Work means that the whole world becomes one’s own office. You work when and where you want and that requires discipline, personal responsibility and independence. You can’t ask your boss for advice or consult with your colleague every 5 minutes. Your own decisions are decisive here. If you don’t want to go down, you have to structure yourself and know exactly what you are doing.

At this point, however, it must be said in advance – not everyone has the same urge to be self-employed at work. Some feel more secure in a structure with guidelines and instructions that they want and are allowed to strictly follow. Therefore one should be also really safe, which measure at independence one would like to have really in the job, or also not. However, if you want to go down the path to self-employment, you should understand the foundation stone of self-employment.

The foundation stone for work independence

Those who are able to work independently often have two characteristics. These are the willingness to take responsibility and the ability to make the right decisions. Now some people are asking themselves the question – how can I assess whether I am making the right decisions or how willing I am to take on responsibility? This, too, can be judged by simple means and ways of self-reflection.

Responsibility = Independence

The key to independent work is undoubtedly the willingness to take responsibility. In order to discover your readiness for responsibility, you should question yourself carefully. What role do you see yourself playing – are you an active shaper or rather in a passive role? The following questions can help you to assess yourself:

  • How do I deal with challenges?
  • How do I react to problems?
  • How did projects in which I was involved go and how strongly did I participate?

In essence, these questions are about whether you take things into your own hands or rely more on others. These findings quickly show how you act or react in a determined or self-determined way. If you are more likely to end up in the passive role, you often act as a follower and thus have a low readiness for responsibility.

follower-determined → passive role → low readiness for responsibility

But if you see yourself as an active working authority, you are very self-determined and therefore have a quite high readiness for responsibility.

self-determined → active role → high readiness for responsibility

How do I know I’m making the right decisions?

Not only the willingness to work independently should be present, also the correct conversion of such a responsibility is a crucial factor! For this you have to be able to make strategic decisions. But what is right and wrong? Solutions are not found subjectively, but logically and objectively. This means that you have to be able to break down a problem, draw logical conclusions and then develop a suitable solution. Your own decisions must therefore be logical, structured and comprehensible. WHY is decisive here. The following considerations can help you to judge yourself:

  • What would I take to a desert island and WHY?
  • What do I like about my hobby or work and WHY do I like it?
  • If I could choose an identity, what would it be and WHY would it be that identity?

Those who argue with logic and structure are often able to make the right decisions for their company with some experience. This concept can also help you to argue your approach in meetings and to enforce it in the end. Those who can substantiate their arguments with facts and figures will not only make the right decisions, but also convince others. Also a perfect way to underline your independence.

Bottom line

In order to realize independent work, you must first know what degree of independence you want and what degree of independence you have at all. Of course the employer or the job should fit accordingly.

Who cannot live out its urge to the independence, will long soon for another job. On the other hand – who must take over too much responsibility, feels often overtaxed and looks likewise for other job possibilities or the discussion to the superior. Both are quite possible and not unusual.

As often in the career the self-knowledge and the own evaluation, as well as also external evaluations help at the end. Who feels ready for independence in the job, will pull its completely own liberty from it. With the given bases everyone defines then its independent work personally. It depends therefore on what you make from it!

Aileen Adämmer
Aileen Adämmer

Aileen Adämmer works as Digital Marketing Manager at the Berlin-based StartUp Searchtalent and thus contributes to a digital and innovative headhunting solution on a daily basis. Her work focuses on the Searchtalent recruiting blog & managing the associated social media channels.