Gone are the days when college graduates enter the workforce, stay with the same company for 40 years, retire and receive their pension from the same company that employed them out of school.
Companies are more efficient today than they were generations ago; this is an economic reality that millennials like me understand. With college graduation looming, I have no expectation to stay with the same company my entire career.
Today’s work environment allows companies to avoid the enormous cost of financing their former workforce’s retirement. This flexibility also has an upside for employees. It empowers the workforce and allows us to find the best possible situation for our optimal career trajectory. Instead of sticking it out in less-than-optimal circumstances to get a pension or some other benefit, we can leverage offers from other companies, and move to a new position if we so choose.
The rise of the independent contractor is a byproduct of the entrepreneurial spirit that makes this country great.
Of course it is wrong when employers abuse the use of independent contractors. But the solution to this is to better define the difference between an independent contractor and an employee. It is not to arbitrarily expand the definition of workers who will be considered employees, as the Department of Labor has chosen to do.
The DOL’s expansive new interpretation over who should be classified as an employee versus an independent contractor is harmful to both employers and workers who genuinely desire to be classified as an independent contractor. It’s also a failure to recognize the changing approach to work that’s taking place in America.
The government’s push to gain more control over the employer-employee relationship is yet another burdensome regulation on business, especially small ones. The DOL’s move creates a confusing situation for both employers and workers. It is nonsensical for federal regulators’ definition of an independent contractor to differ from state’s common law.
Many of today’s workers would prefer to manage their entire approach and interaction with the workplace, from the hours they work to the benefits they receive. A growing segment of Americans are embracing the freelance lifestyle, partially reflected by the growing entrepreneurial workforce.
Many of my fellow millennials view the government as their out-of-control, pseudo helicopter parent. If we do not want the power our great nanny state extended to our employer-employee relationship, shouldn’t that be our decision?
I value flexibility and freedom over perceived stability and government control. The employer-independent contractor relationship can be mutually beneficial for both parties. These jobs make the American work force more dynamic and competitive in the global economy.