The Subscription Career

The theme this week is the future: yesterday, the evolution of knowledge, before that, the future shape of organisations. Today: the future of ‘career‘. Specifically, the subscriptions or community career.

The Subscription Career

Organisations used to own our career: they recruited us, structured the journey and sent us on our way at the end with a carriage clock and pension. They provided both infrastructure and development. But no more. The career as it was is dead.

Today, we each own our own journey and the only constants will be our community.

Other sectors are adapting fast: take music. I’ve written previously about ‘Kickstarting‘. The example i use is the last album i bought by the Flaming Lips. Or, to be precise, the last album i didn’t buy, because i Kickstarted it. I pledged music to fund it and in return had weekly video updates from the band. I got ‘behind the scenes‘ as they created it and was granted membership of a community. At the end, i didn’t get a CD or vinyl, but rather a hand screen printed poster signed by the band. And through social channels i’m able to interact with the band directly: no middlemen. It’s a democratised and immediate form of engagement.

Today Cath sent me a piece about Patroen, a new service that goes one step further: you pledge regular subscription amounts against each new release, be it a song, a long form piece of writing or a video. Patronage reborn. In return, again, you get exclusive community access.

Imagine that in our world: organisations providing patronage to experts in return for exclusive access to content and input. An evolution of career: beyond even consultancy. Communities that persist over time based upon quality of output.

Consider the farce of performance management and annual performance reviews: once a year defining objectives and targets, for someone who will probably only be in role for three years. It’s outdated, not to mention insulting, and generally used as a mechanism to avoid giving a pay rise or, worse, awarding a small pay rise and expecting gratitude and loyalty to be bought (not earned) in return.

We need to evolve these systems, move towards more immediate and relevant models of engagement with teams: more community based and awarding social reputation and recognition, not paltry bonuses.

Patronage may not be the worst model: support over time, democratised to the community. Developmental and engaged.

Careers, as they were, are dead. Models of development and learning are evolving. The very shape of the future organisation will be different. Maybe we should examine models of the subscriptions career, the community career, in response.

About julianstodd

Author, Artist, Researcher, and Founder of Sea Salt Learning. My work explores the context of the Social Age and the intersection of formal and social systems.
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8 Responses to The Subscription Career

  1. Hi Julian, I’m really enjoy your posts and completely agree with this one. I think the more people who figure out how to have a fulfilling life, including fulfilling work, the more voices we’ll have saying “Hang on, I did this by breaking the rules school gave me.” So, as the old ‘sell me your soul for a paycheck’ businesses close and the new ‘I trust you as a professional because I can see you care deeply about serving your niche’ businesses thrive, we’ll hit a tipping point and schooling will evolve because enough people will see how ridiculous the current set-up is. I’m excited about what’s coming!

    • julianstodd says:

      Thanks Leah, it’s exciting times. A lot of change, a chance for sgile individuals and smaller organisations to steal ground from the dinosaurs, but we must make sure we don’t leave anyone behind. The very opportunities we are celebrating can widen the gap between the enabled and those who lack access, permission or understanding of the breadth of change. Thanks for contributing here 🙂

      • Totally agree Julian! I’m only just getting my head around the new possibilities myself. In fact, the more people connecting, the better for everyone. With that in mind I’ve just posted an open letter to teachers calling on them to find ways of putting themselves first for the sake of their own health/well-being and to show students that being employed doesn’t have to mean misery. I’d love if you’d take a look…

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