“My father had one job in his lifetime, I will have six jobs in my lifetime, and my children will have six jobs at the same time.”—Robin Chase, founder of Zipcar. This is the quote that opens a chapter in The Gig Economy. It does an great job of describing the ideas of The Gig Economy.
I am so enthusiastic about this book because I loved it. The idea that we can piece together a lifestyle that is designed by us, leaving us time for our interests and passions is so appealing. It gives me the illusion of control—multiple streams of income, various opportunities to make money, not being dependent on any one business or person for a paycheck. It’s ideal for a control freak like myself. Multiple opportunities are open to me and I’m the only one standing in my way of designing the life I want.
The traditional idea of working for one company or in one field for most of our adult lives no longer applies. More and more businesses are turning to freelancers or outsourcing work that needs to be done. The job market is changing and we can either be afraid of it or we can embrace the opportunities that are becoming available to us. The Gig Economy show us how we can take advantage of these possibilities.
What is The Gig Economy? It includes “consulting and contracting arrangements, part-time jobs, temp assignments, freelancing, self-employment, side gigs, and on-demand work through platforms like Upward and Task Rabbit.”
The author says there are 10 rules to succeeding in The Gig Economy and those rules are covered in three sections of the book— “Getting Better Work”, “Taking More Time Off,” and “Financing the Life You Want.” The book closes with the section “The future Gig Economy.”
A lot of the book has to do with changing your mindset;
- How you think about success-What is important to you? What are your priorities? What are your values? What do you want your family life to look like? Success doesn’t have to be measured by the traditional ideas of income and material accumulation.
- How you think about money—The lower you can keep your fixed costs, the most income security you’ve created for yourself, simply by needing less money to maintain your lifestyle. Is it worth working X amount of hours to pay for a particular gadget? If so, there’s nothing wrong with that. “In the end, a good financial plan isn’t about reducing your spending per se; it’s about making sure that you spend what you have in a way that is meaningful to you.”
- How you think about time off—do you want to have a large block of free time in your 70s when your health may or may not allow you to do the things you want to do? Or would you prefer to spread out that time off, taking off a couple months between gigs to travel, volunteer, write that book that you’ve always wanted to write? And in the end, it’s not likely many of us are going to be able to retire in the way we’ve seen our grandparents or parents retire.
I think the biggest challenge for people will be understanding that this new economy in which we find ourselves doesn’t allow for coasting. We have to always be thinking about creating “income security, not job security.” We have to thinking about diversifying our skills, our network, our knowledge. The book quotes author Dorie Clark, saying, “Many people don’t want to deal with the hustle of a permanent career campaign.” But that’s our reality now. The author calls it the “hustling class”, always looking ahead for changes, skills that are in demand, what we can offer.
I urge everyone to read The Gig Economy. I read a library copy but ordered my own copy because I’m going to have my high-school aged child read it. It will benefit her to understand the changing job market and help her make wise career decisions.