The Gig Economy
Survive & Thrive in The Gig Economy
If you have a pulse, you’ve heard people talking about the gig economy. Often, depending upon who you speak with, the gig economy is the most evil, terrible, great, fantastic, or liberating economic phenomenon in the history of the world. Most of the time, people speak about it as if it’s something new, something born out of the 2008 economic crisis. Nothing could be further from the truth. The gig economy has been around since the beginning of time. The recent resurgence is a response to many factors - social, economic, and technological, to name a few. One thing, however, is for sure - Love it or hate it, the gig economy is here to stay.
It’s here to stay, so how do you survive in The Gig Economy?
The first rule - Stay positive. Too much time and attention are dedicated to the negative aspects of the gig economy. Of course, the lack of financial security as employers continue to shift the more and more risk onto laborers’ shoulders and away from the company as the trend of pruning wages continues is a real concern. For workers, this means that a regular 9-5 job isn’t as secure as it once was. You could very well pour your heart and soul into a job or company you love (or hate) and then, boom! You’re laid off at age 50 with few job prospects available to you - don’t get me started on traditional employers’ rampant agism (yes, Babyboomers and Gen Xers, I love you too)! As financial stability decreases, free time generally increases. Time, we must remember is the most precious currency of all. There is no borrowing it, no stealing it. It is finite in a very real sense. Who do you want in charge of your time-currency, you or a manager obsessed with protocol and tradition?
What does the increased freedom give workers in return?
When you are your own boss, determining your own hours is one of the biggest benefits. It allows workers more freedom to create a lifestyle that makes them happy. Furthermore, the more you are engaged and part of the determination of the direction your work takes, the fewer feelings of futileness and the classic drudgery of pushing papers takes over. Each day has the potential to become a personal achievement rather than a set of seemingly trivial tasks that must be done between 9 and 5 just because your boss said so. If you play the gig economy game right, sell your skills well, you can have control of your own lifestyle - no boss, no 9-5 just because “that’s what’s done”, and you’ll stop counting down to the weekend. Every day is a workday, but every day is a weekend as well full of opportunities to accomplish something great that you are passionate about. At the very least, you’ll be able to see a direct connection between the usefulness of your tasks and your goals, one of the most important determining factors in happiness in the workplace.
How do you thrive in the Gig Economy?
The number one thing you can do to make sure that you and your unique set of skills are always in demand is to develop a personal brand. If you were born after 1980, chances are that you’ll have many jobs with various companies across various industries by the time you retire - that is if you ever get to. When you’re your own boss selling your skills, you have to bet on yourself. Unlike a traditional employee wherein a company has taken a calculated risk on a worker, a gig economy worker has not yet sold him or herself to anyone and has no well-defined role set out by human resources departments. The best way to make sure that people know who you are is to build a brand based on you and what you are great at. Thankfully, we live in a social media world, so getting yourself out there in a unified, branded package is easier than ever before in human history - think personal video, photo, blogs, but don’t stop there! Get creative, call up the local newspapers and magazines; journalists are always hungry for a great personal story. Hell, call us at Surged! If you’ve got a great story, we’ll run a story on you, seriously. Embrace the fact that you are a brand just like Steve Jobs or even Nike. Choose what you are passionate about and highly capable of doing and carve out your own niche. The stronger your brand, the more you’ll be in demand - read, more cash for you!