The rise of the gig economy and the benefits to your finance and lifestyle
Every new generation brings with it new thinking. Often the ‘ceiling’ of the previous generation is now the floor of the new. In this digitally disruptive world this generational divide has never been more evident.
Millennials were amongst the first to be branded with the moniker of ‘digital natives’. Many of them grew up with the internet and were raised in a digital media saturated world. Millennials first interactions with digital media was in their teens, the most vulnerable years of their life and they quickly got on board. Some millennials, however, did not get make the leap and struggled just as much as the previous generations to grasp new technology. Generation Z (born from 2000 onwards) are considered the true digital natives, they effectively were born into this new world norm of technology and when they reached their teens, technology was natural. No struggles at all. But what of their grandparents?
While this technological change was occurring between the generations the way we became educated and engaged with our work and workplace was fracturing old mindsets.
We are no longer educated once in our life for the job for life. That notion is done. It’s also a really bad model, if you think of it. Our brains are more engaged when we are learning and being inquisitive (particularly if you enjoy the subject matter!). We need a mindset of being always willing to learn.
You often hear of tradespeople being unable to get good young people to work… Do you blame these young people? They were brought up in a world with a computer in their palm, doing what they want when they want. This is exacerbated by their parents, who are more prosperous than any generation before. Millennials often cop a bad rap as having a lack of work ethic or a sense of entitlement, but this is not an article about that. Instead we need to understand the change that is occurring within the social fabric of our society and the impact this is having on hour we live and work.
Enter the gig economy.
Work when you want, where you want, how you want. It sounds pretty good doesn’t it? It’s the modern-day Woodstock vibe of being ‘free without worry’. That’s all well and good if you’re a graphic designer, bookkeeper, voiceover artist or computer programmer that can work from home or a café and generate an income by using the many online freelancer type websites. When you think about it, it’s safer to have multiple sources of income than just one (an employer). This however comes with its own risks.
But if you’re a full time 9 to 5 office or essential services worker – is it possible to transition your life into the gig economy? The gig economy is essentially an economy of workers who are part-time or casual, self-employed and using technology at times to maximise their income and lifestyle. So, if you are a nurse, for example – that may look like being in the casual pool. Perhaps if you’re in an office situation, would they let you work “remotely” with different hours?
The gig economy or side hustle comes with both risks and opportunities. Whether you continue to operate on a traditional work life model or embrace the new is entirely up to you. But remember the only thing stopping you is you.
Benefits of the gig economy
- Life on your own terms. Working when you want and how you want.
- Increased income – casual or freelance workers can generally get paid more.
- Constant four-day work week – what if you punched out four big days and always had a long weekend?
- Balancing your time between working and re-training to further your career.
- Balancing your time between working and pursing hobbies or unpaid social causes.
- Work / life / family balance.
Risks of the gig economy
- Not being intentional and earning less money than your ‘full-time’ endeavours earned.
- Not having the hustle to get your own work if you are a contractor (as opposed to casual staff).
- Being sloppy with your money and over holiday season’s (like Christmas) or quiet times, not having work and therefore no income. You need to be onto this.
- No sick pay or other full-time employment benefits.
This article forms part of the Your Best Interests online magazine of which I am a contributor. You can read the entire magazine here.