I’m old enough to remember a time when the internet sprang onto society. The World Wide Web, a term that grew into the world psyche, as it was unknown to most of us. Sure, their were people who probably knew all about it, but you have to understand, they were not as prevalent as today. You may have had an uncle who worked for IBM, and that relatively new company Apple had a nifty computer, but for the most part tech was just getting started.
It wasn’t long before experts spoke of an “information age” where major economies, built on manufacturing, would outsource and the true leading economies would trade in information. I must say, I was quite confused by it all and only as the new system was rapidly put into motion did I slowly catch on. Regardless, of how you feel in hindsight about this shift, I believe the true value of technology is only now being realized. I’m also not sure in the mid to late nineties anyone saw what truly would come.
My son graduated college with a business degree and works construction, while my daughter in law graduated with a psychology degree and is now a vice president of a veterinary company. As you see, I understand things don’t always turn out the way you envision them, and I believe the internet helped make this the new normal. What was expected of us in the past has changed into something that is almost foreign to some of us, who were raised to think in a certain way about our careers.
The Workers of Today|Changing Culture
What we see today (and at the behest of some older people) are the markets, opportunities and jobs, young people have created for themselves using technology and fulfilling the promise of the internet. While big data companies, like Google and Facebook, used the traditional model of using information, the latest generation has created, not only a new economy, but a new age in lifestyles. They helped to begin the erosion of the traditional company and employee work model and in doing so, are creating a marketplace for their skills, while living on their own terms. Welcome to the beginning of the age of the Digital Nomad. Some will argue this age has been around for a few years, but I think we are only seeing the first glimpse of what is to come.
What Are The Benefits?
As was said, for a few years now workers have learned, if they can work in a cubicle or tiny office they can work from home. At the same time, companies who wanted to downsize staff by outsourcing or downsizing in space, slowly encouraged some employees to work from their house. The technology, could have supported this even years before, but the culture of traditional work changed slowly over time. As this cultural shift took place and more and more people worked from home, some realized if they could work from an apartment 5 miles from work, why not 800 miles away in paradise. The digital nomad was born. Now you could live anywhere you wanted and use modern technology to your advantage. Instead of driving to a job day after day until an old age where people dreamed of someday retiring in a tropical destination, our digital nomads are logging into their email for the days work on Samara beach in Costa Rica.
The Future of Digital Nomads
As of this writing we are in a worldwide pandemic. One, I think that will finally push the traditional workplace culture over a cliff. Hundreds of thousands of employees from thousands of companies have been digitally commuting to work or at least completing assignments from home with little to no loss of efficiency. In fact, when analyzed years from now, I believe may have been more productive for many companies. The future of digital nomads is only now truly beginning. The next generation of workers will blur borders and join cultures as never before. Digital nomads who live as expats in Central America and work from a mountain top in Nicaragua for six months and spend the next six in the jungles of Belize will become the new normal and their lives will be more fulfilling for it.