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!