Are You a Web Worker?

What exactly does it mean to be a web worker? I suppose we could make a Web Worker Quiz with items like “you have a T-Mobile HotSpot account,” or “you live in Gmail, Google Talk, and Google Calendar.” We could assign you a rating of your web workerness, make a little badge for you to put on your website. But that wouldn’t capture the spirit of Web Worker Daily. We’re about seeking work satisfaction, making human connections, and being willing to do things in a different way than they were done before.

Where does the Web come in? As a tool that supports all of those activities, not as an end in itself, and as part of a social revolution that makes it possible now more than ever to define work the way you want to. While you’ll find plenty of reviews of the gear and sites that make your online life more productive and fun, WWD aims beyond your flying fingertips to your heart and soul.

So how do you know if you’re a web worker? Can you be a web worker if you telecommute? Does web working require the use of Ruby on Rails or Ajax? Do you have to be far away from your teammates to be a web worker? None of those things determines whether you are a web worker. You define whether you are a web worker or not. You know whether you are a web worker or not. You may have even had moments in your life where you realized that the Web had permanently changed your attitude towards your working life.

I’ll share my most recent web worker moment with you. I knew I was a web worker when I quit a job by email, against the advice of my friends and family. Like Britney’s discarding K-Fed with a “u r dumped” text message, I chose the tool that worked best for me–asynchronous and text-based–even against conventional wisdom that said I should use the phone. Around the same time, I created and negotiated new business relationships all by email and IM with people I’d never met except online. Everything I had learned about career management–that getting a job requires a resume and an interview, that quitting a job must be done on someone else’s terms or by old standards of what’s proper and what’s not–has been overturned by the new ways of working and connecting that the Web enables.

I’m interested to know what IM program you use, how you want Gmail to be better, and whether you prefer pen and paper or online to do lists. I’m even more excited to explore new ways of working with you, to hear about your defining web worker moments, and to succeed together in this new Web order.

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