Do you know what the “Gig Economy” is? Ever heard of it?
I had a bit of a strange experience the other day. I saw an article in the news about the Gig Economy. I had never heard of the term before. But, when I read the article I realized that I know all about the Gig Economy, I have lived the life for many years, and have even written books about the Gig Economy. I had just never heard that precise name before!
What is the Gig Economy?
Well, basically, it means that people will no longer have long-term permanent employment for one company, instead, the people will work gigs. They will have short-term jobs, mostly they will be self-employed, work as a private contractor, etc.
When I read the article, I instantly started searching for more to read about the Gig Economy. Actually, learning this name for what I have been doing for years kind of led to an epiphany for me. It was like the stars came into alignment, and I thought of several interesting ideas about how I can use the “gig economy” as a niche in my writing. I also thought about a certain topic that I have been wanting to write about for several years now, and how it fits right in with the gig economy as well, although at first mention you probably would not see how it fits. 🙂
Because of this epiphany that I had, you will be starting to see more articles from me about “gig” work, the gig economy, and some other topics that might surprise you a bit.
I have some disagreement
In the article that I read on the topic, New Gig Economy spells an end to lifetime careers, I felt that in general, the writer (and the publisher?) were generally negative toward the gig economy. Most of the things that they argued were negatives about the trend were things that I actually consider as positives!
- For one thing, the article mentioned that working in the gig economy is more exciting, but less secure than traditional employment. I disagree with part of that. I fully agree that it is more exciting, but I also feel it is more secure than traditional employment! How can it be more secure? Well, if you have a job with a company that is not your own company, you are the whim of managers, HR people or whatever has the ability to decide that you are out! You can be fired or laid off virtually at any time! Who needs that? If you are a “Giger” (a common term for gig workers like I am), then you hold the power. You are only signing up for short-term gigs anyway, so they are not going to fire you. You won’t be working there for 30 years and then be told: “goodbye, we don’t want to employ you anymore”. That exact thing happened to my cousin recently. After 30 years with the same employer, they fired her. They told her that they were happy with her work, but they just felt that they wanted to restructure the business. Bye Bye! Been nice knowing you. So, really, how secure is traditional employment?
- Some of what was discussed in the article was, in my view, not really gig work. It was something in the middle of traditional employment and gig work. For example several of the articles that I that day discussed things like Uber taxi drivers. Well, even though the drivers are technically self-employed, they are, I would argue, technically employed by Uber. They have to follow Uber’s policies and such, and Uber can sever the relationship. Being truly self-employed is more flexible, and more autonomous than something like an Uber driver. So, I really disagree that these semi-employed type of jobs are really gig work at all.
In another article that I saw, they were talking about some studies that the US Government has done in recent years that regard the gig economy. In the article, they mentioned that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has been studying the trend and the most recent numbers said that some 70% of new jobs in recent years were not traditional jobs, but rather something that came more close to gig work. Still, only a small percentage of overall jobs are still traditional. But, with recent new jobs leaning 70% toward gig work, I would say that traditional employees need to be very worried about their future (i.e. not secure, see what I mean). As the gig trend catches on more and more, if it works out well for companies, you can bet that the trend will continue and probably accelerate in the direction of gig style work. That means that over coming years, fewer and fewer people will have traditional long-term employment. If those workers do not understand how to be effective in the gig economy, they could find themselves in big, big trouble.
This article is just an introduction to my thinking on the gig economy. It is something that excites me and interests me a lot. If you read this site, and some of my other sites as well, you will be hearing a lot more on this topic, because I will address this a lot more. I have some, I think, interesting thoughts and ideas. Some of what I am thinking is, as far as I know, not even being considered yet. So, tune in and see what you think. I would encourage you to jump on the trend of the gig economy if you are not there already. I think that in the coming years, we will all, or almost all be Gigers!
Yesterday on this site, I announced that my new book, 49 Ways to Make Money Without a Job is now on the market. Think about it. The book is the perfect manual for gig workers and the gig economy. If you want to check it out, the eBook is available here, or you can get the paperback from Amazon! This book will make a gig worker out of you!
It’s an interesting topic. I know and have seen quite a few Millenials who already buy into this. I think it is a smart way to go. Given all sorts of variables, I think that is where I would be now.
I think that there are some jobs that will likely always be “regular” jobs (K-12 teachers, police, firefighters), but I would expect that, more and more, people not in that group will grow. We are even outsourcing now what some people in those public service jobs do (sometimes with good success; other times less so).
Working for yourself could be the best of all possible worlds, I think.
Hi Tom – you certainly are correct that some jobs just won’t adapt to the gig style economy. Virtual firefighting just doesn’t seem to work! 🙂
I do see, though, where teaching could go partially online and in a gig type setup. I know a guy who is a real expert on “virtual schools” maybe you could talk to him about that!
I do know that being a “giger” has been a great thing for me, and had a huge impact on my life.