The Gig Economy refers to an economy where jobs are based on contract and freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs. It is the new model and continues to affect even larger corporations as they model themselves internally as well to operate this way. People rarely stay in the same job for more than five years — especially in tech.
“By the year 2025, most workers (70%) and employers (68%) agree a majority of the workforce will be employed in an agile capacity (i.e. contractor, consultant, temporary or freelance)” (Randstad US Study)
“Thus by best understanding what it is, you’ll be able to give your child a competitive edge to be best prepared to take advantage of this when they’re older.” (Dinner Table MBA)
“But for millennials, who are either just beginning their careers or are reaching the end of the first phase of their careers, the gig economy is a mixed bag; it represents massive potential, but at the same time, fewer and more difficult opportunities. … Regardless of how you feel about it, the gig economy is likely to stick around for the foreseeable future (and experience even further growth), so it’s best to learn how to take advantage of it for yourself—and avoid the pitfalls that your peers are facing.” (Forbes, Why the Gig Economy is the Best and Worst for Those Under 30)
Prepare, Don’t Fear
Being Good to Gig means being prepared for jobs where every single connection to a specific employer has all but been severed. No more perks, gold retirement watches, vacation days, or even insurance unless you negotiate it. That means being in charge of yourself — a company of one — and locating all the resources necessary to making that happen.
At first this sounds terrifying to those who have only known a society where insurance and income protection is assured by corporations and the government, but neither have proven reliable in recent years. Being aware of this change and preparing for it is the absolute best thing you can do for yourself and your children.
Those who fear the Gig Economy the most are those who have gotten used to being paid for doing nothing. They “rest on their laurels and seniority” rather than produce any actual value. You know the type. You can probably look around and see one right now. They are those bozos on your project who let everyone else do all the work while they get all the benefit. A lot of them are overpaid executive types and middle-managers who “present” the work of their engineering team and take all the credit. Thankfully, as Don Tapscott predicted in 1997, these people are dropping like flies already.
[If you sense a little pleasure in my voice in that last sentence it’s because “I cannot abide useless people” — especially those leeches making more than 99% of the rest of their country for doing nothing be being born to white-collar criminals who think they can get away with anything. America is particularly diseased in this regard.]
This is perhaps one reason the upper 1% are digging in with their heels to protect their way of life. The Gig Economy will ultimately decimate their unearned fortunes. This is a very controversial point and no one can truly predict the future but its always good to be ready.
In fact, living by the rules of the Gig Economy has benefited people since long before there was a term for it.
You should always be ready to take a better gig.
Bottom line: if you are actually good at what you do and have output that shows it and connections to others who need what you can do — then you never need to be afraid. Start today to manage yourself as an independent business. Find those things that make you uncomfortable and seek solutions for them because the reality is, only those who are good to gig will have any job by 2025, which isn’t too far away.