15 sources of income: exaggeration or preparation?

My already retired father worked his whole life in the service of the same employer. For younger generations the situation is vastly different. Many young adults do not wish to commit to one employer for a long period of time, nor is it often seen as a viable option either. Both in the labor market and in the society as whole winds of change are blowing. Or are they?


Being travel author might seem like an appealing source of income for many.

In the beginning of the year I went to an interesting seminar where Alf Rehn, the Chair of Management and Organization at Åbo Akademi University in Turku, Finland, discussed the prospects of students. Rehn started the event by stating that older generations have picked the “low hanging fruit” concerning employment. Safe and predictable prospects are gone and young adults are forced to adjust to this fact.

Rehn suggested that all the students in the room think about possible backup plans for the future. In case their current plans don’t work out as planned, it is a good idea to have a plan B and C in mind and if possible already in use, in form of freelance work, voluntary work or established networks. Rehn thought that it might be dangerous to be lulled into the misconception that what one does at the moment would also be possible in the future. How do we even know what jobs are out there in 15 years?

I recently read an article by Pauline Paquin in the Business Insider concerning the fact that she has a total 15 sources of income. At first this amount of different sources of income seemed excessively large. On the other hand it is commonly thought wise to be prepared in uncertain times. Paquin pointed out in her piece that when prospects are uncertain it is safer that one’s income consists of several streams rather than of one large river. Paquin gets income from for instance preparing meals for foreigners, renting out her guesthouse for Airbnb use and from freelance writing assignments.

Finnish future researcher Ilkka Halava has often underlined that one shouldn’t concentrate on “What will I be when I grow up?” but rather on “What will I do next?” Flexibility and curiosity will be essential in the future. But does this mean that permanent jobs will actually be a thing of the past? We probably shouldn’t jump the gun and over exaggerate - but when has a bit of preparation hurt anyone?

Maaria Tirri is a content provider for Europass
Text and photo: Maaria Tirri

The job market of the future seems uncertain and challenging. How could you be prepared for it? Is a total of 15 sources of income just what is needed or a total exaggeration?

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