Web3 jobs: “I work in Web3.” There’s always that problem with increments. We are now on ‘iphone13’, and that succeeded ‘iphone12’ from last year, and next year it’ll be ‘iphone14’. And so, we assume there’s continuity, the same stuff, but newer and improved, perhaps.
But “Web3” is so much more than “Web2.” It’s more of a case of shifting your thinking and practice into a fluid form, having to think, and operate, with new perspectives and paradigms in often challenging but beautifully creative ways. And that involves rethinking “Work” itself, what it is, how it’s done, where it’s done, why it’s done, and with whom it’s done.
This is how I approach the new ways of working that seemingly apply to Web3. And yes Covid lockdowns acted as a major catalyst in how many now view the work they do and how they do it. Including myself. It gave me the opportunity to sit back and say ‘enough, I don’t want this anymore’.
Web3 Jobs: Work is Changing
“Work” itself has changed in many ways and perspectives, and that for me has been both a challenge and an opportunity, requiring me to think, act and be in different ways whilst “at work.” I have greater freedom and flexibility now in my working practices, my goals and measures of success. The changes have happened over several years, but it’s only looking back that I can appreciate just how radical these changes have been, and just how much my work and working life has changed.
Previously I worked in leadership positions at several blue-chip FMCG companies, I “went to work” and put my time in at the office. I was keen to “get on,” and be seen to be that versatile team player who went the extra mile. I was heroically present, I smashed my targets, and I wore the battle scars of all this heroic caffeine-fueled dedication (exhaustion, addiction and burn-out) as badges of honor in the service of the corporate good.
There is a new generational culture towards work
These differences in what work is and how I now work are clearer still when I think of how and what work used to be. For my father’s generation, say in the late 80s and 90s? He commuted to his workplace every day, suited and booted, keen to get on and be well thought of. He worked hard, and was seen to play hard, committed to the corporate good and absorbed all the mantras that did the corporate thinking for him: “Work Hard, Play Hard,” “There’s no I in TEAM” (and often no F either). Work was somewhere you went, and you were (or became) your profession for the whole of your “working life.” And then you retired, and spoke of yourself solely in terms of your former profession.
A generation later I think I had greater freedom and flexibility – I no longer had to wear the tie, and no longer expected to be “in the office” all the time. I had not one job, but lots of jobs, each for no longer than a couple of years, because any longer than that would indicate that my career had peaked or plateaued.
Covid and Lockdown changed many of the long-standing attitudes to work, what it involves, how it’s done, and where it’s done. I had greater geographical freedom, and I was no longer a slave to the ever-observant office eyes. But then again, I did have the greater tyranny of corporate email culture and effective e-tagging – “why is your Out of Office on?” and “I know that you are supposed to be on leave, but this is really urgent…” I might not have had to be in the office all the time, but the corporate expectations and testosterone-fueled practices, across all genders, remained the same.
Web3 changes the way we work: collaboration is key
And now, working in Web3, I can look at my former life and work from a foreign country, literally (I emigrated). Is my work and my working life better? It is certainly different, and perhaps “better” is the wrong word anyway, for could you say that apples are “better” than bananas? It is not all Sunny Uplands, but it has been a refreshing and welcome challenge in terms of how I work, what my work involves, and where I work.
In essence working in Web3 requires and is founded on effective freedom through collaborative efforts, even often with what would normally be perceived as a competitor in a Web2 sense. It’s a world away from my former practices of competition and beating others – meeting my goals, achieving my targets, so as to meet the corporate goals and for them to only benefit.
Web3 Jobs: Global mindset
Now I work with many like-minded people globally, rewarding me with far greater personal freedom and fulfilment. I can work anywhere in the world, so I am no longer tied to the office and the office prying eyes, so geography and commuting hours are no longer an issue. But I also now work more hours, across global time zones and many languages. And I also need to work more creatively, if not imaginatively, working and thinking well outside and beyond any of those mythical boxes from my former corporate worlds. Now, I am bridging the gap between web2 and web3, transitioning blue chip organizations into the world of vast opportunities.
I do not know where exactly Web3 will take us, or where we all take Web3, maybe this is part of the allure. But I am certain that it will be a revolution and a revelation. We will look back in wonder, as we look back on how we used to work, and what work used to look like. And I guess also that it will be like playing a very different game according to the new rules set by the game, and the rules that we set for ourselves. Web3 is young, hungry, volatile. But not without risk and yet still beautifully dynamic and full of opportunities.
About the author
Zak Manhire is an expert in building partnerships, who now runs Web3 Fr0ntier X. Zak previously led commercial strategy for Costa Coffee and was commercial director for EMEA at Monster Energy working closely with TCCC. Most recently, he was commercial director for a portfolio company of The Foresight Group. Zak has experience with an endless list of major brands including Adidas, Coca-Cola, Red Bull, Starbucks and Uber.
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