Our new post-* economic rearrangement touches all of our family relationships, reshaping households – and possibly even shaping our choice of partner. Will couples job-share? Will they pursue joint careers? Will they launch many more family businesses? Work and home and family have blended together, changing the family forever – and our lives already reflect that.
We have freedom to choose the future we want for ourselves.
And it turns out what we want for ourselves is what we’ve always wanted:
Home and family.
That’s showing up in some unexpected transformations.
In February 2020, when the adults in a home went off to work, they went off to different destinations, and different jobs.
In the first lockdown we all experienced what happens when adults with different jobs work in close quarters…
Trying to find that quiet room for a Zoom call.
While we expect that adults who live together both work – they’ve almost never been working together.
Home is once more the center of wealth creation.
So it suddenly makes sense – again – for adults in a home to work together.
It’s exactly what families always did until a hundred years ago.
Everyone – parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, children, cousins – everyone! – working together to support the family.
What was true, is true, again.
Economics changes all of our family relationships.
Economics reshapes our households.
Will we now see husbands and wives pursing joint careers?
Will we see a big uptick in ‘family’ businesses?
Businesses where the whole family is involved in wealth creation?
Husbands and wives, supported by children, as they become old enough to contribute.
Supported by parents and grandparents – for as long as they want to contribute.
Twenty years ago, when I migrated from the US, one language change caught me up.
In the US, when you say ‘partner’ it means – in Australian – ‘business partner’.
In Australia, when you say ‘partner’, it means – in American – ‘life partner’.
Now here I am thinking that both Americans and Australians had that perfectly correct.
That’s what the future holds for us.
Partners are partners are partners.
Everyone contributes to everyone’s economic success.
It sounds new. It’s not.
It’s a model that never went away on Australia’s family farms.
And it leads us to all sorts of interesting questions.
Do we start to pick our partners based not just on romantic attraction – but business potential?
Is there an app in our future that looks like a mashup between Tinder and LinkedIn?
Is there job sharing in this new partnership, the way there’s chore-sharing today?
There are so many new areas opening up to us.
This transformation of the family into an economically productive unit is by far the most profound of all the transformation in the post-everything era.
Change the family, and you change everything.
Before 2020, our families answered to the needs of the workplace.
We mapped our family lives around our work lives.
Our families were designed around work.
And now, it’s exactly the opposite.
We now map our work around our family lives.
And to thrive in this new world where families define the shape of economic success, everyone needs to be both a good businessperson – and a good family member.
It will change the shape of our homes – as every home becomes a home business.
Maybe a range of home businesses – all worked together, by the whole family.
It will change the services those families need.
And the products they buy.
It touches everything – not just in the family – but in all of our communities, in our economy, and in our culture.