flexible work

Your Job is Really a Gig, and Why That’s a Good Thing

By Kristen Harris

You’ve probably heard a lot of talk about ‘gigs’ and the ‘gig economy’ lately, but may have thought it doesn’t apply to you. Here’s the deal–gigs aren’t just for Uber drivers and musicians anymore. We're all working in the gig economy. All jobs are becoming gigs. 

Work has been impacted by the Information Age, becoming more flexible and transient than ever before. For more information on gigs, jobs, and how the gig economy has evolved, check out the previous article Job vs. Gig: What’s the Difference and Why It Matters.

So, the gig economy is here, what does that mean to you?

First of all, your job is really a gig. While it may be salaried, Monday through Friday, 40ish hours a week, it’s still a gig. Why? Because all work is just-in-time, as-needed, and constantly evolving with company, industry, economic, social and political changes. We live in a highly connected international world, and that impacts all business and work.

This shift to an information-based world of work means that all jobs are based on current projects and needs. Those projects and needs constantly change, impacting the size and type of workforce needed. Which affects how companies hire, and how people manage their career.

Don’t despair, for people in the workforce this is a good thing! Skills and talents are valued, and opportunities are no longer (solely) based on seniority. Yes, someone with more experience may have different opportunities, but based on their level of knowledge and skill (read about Gladwell’s 10,000 Hour Rule), not just because they’ve been at the company longest.

There are very few industries left where seniority is the only consideration for promotion (ahem, airline pilots). Generally, your skills, talent, and willingness to learn leads to new opportunities. This means individuals can find new ways to apply and grow skills, gain new experiences, pursue interesting opportunities, and be paid in a way that equates with the value of what they bring to the table.

If there’s a downside to this whole gig economy, here it is–it’s harder. Finding your own way, blazing your trail, building your skills and promoting them to others is all harder than finding that one job right out of school and staying there for 30 years. This new world order requires more hustle than before. You’ll probably change employers more often, may have multiple careers, and will often find self-employment or flexible work arrangements to be the norm.

But upside of opportunities and control over your own career outweighs the downsides. Plus, the gig economy is here, so we all might as well figure out how to make it work. Hustle, and build the career you want. Your future is in your hands!

Job vs. Gig: What’s the Difference and Why It Matters

By Kristen Harris

We’ve been hearing a lot about ‘gigs’ lately, along with the ‘gig economy’, and you probably have some questions. What exactly IS a ‘gig’? What’s the difference between a ‘job’ and a ‘gig’? Is one better than the other? Most importantly, why should I care? How does it affect me?

Let's start with a few definitions. 

Job - A job is work done for pay. Jobs may be piecework, hourly, salaried, task-based, project-based, and many other options. When we hear the word ‘job’, we typically think of a specific role in a company that you do regularly with the expectation that you’ll return every day indefinitely.

Gig - A gig is a job that lasts a certain period of time, often the life of a project or as long as the company has that specific need. It can be short-term and specific in length, or long-term and lasting as long as the need continues. All gigs are jobs, but not all jobs are gigs.

With gigs, we often think of the music and entertainment industry, but in today’s world this term can be applied to all types of industries and roles. It’s especially common in the creative, IT and technology fields because of the flexible employment model that accompanies the gig economy.

So, back to those initial questions...why should I care, and how does it affect me? Because the world of work has shifted over the last 20+ years, and is continuing to change rapidly. Work looks different, and people think differently about their work.

All work is becoming more ‘gig’-like in nature, regardless of the employment structure. The traditional concept of being in one job for life is inflexible, outdated, and as rare as a unicorn. Because it’s what both people and employers want, jobs are starting to look a lot more like gigs. A gig can turn into long-term employment if that’s what both parties want, but with the (perhaps unspoken) understanding that both parties are committed to each other as long as it makes sense but with no expectation that will be forever.

People want new challenges, fresh ideas, and different opportunities. They no longer stay at one company, or even in one type of career, for their entire work life. An individual may pursue a variety of different types of work, concurrently or one after another. They move companies frequently, and expect new opportunities even if they stay at the same company. This is what a gig mindset gives them, whether the work is packaged as a salaried position or some other option.

Experts predict that by 2020 as much as 40% of the workforce will be contingent (not salaried employees of a company). We’re already working in the gig economy. It’s here. How will you make it work for you?