Saturday, February 04, 2012
I Can Gig It, Man
Keith Burgess-Jackson points to a post titled The New Job Market at the blog I Want A New Left which comments on a Tina Brown article at The Daily Beast headlined The Gig Economy wherein Brown laments the following.
No one I know has a job anymore. They’ve got Gigs.
Gigs: a bunch of free-floating projects, consultancies, and part-time bits and pieces they try and stitch together to make what they refer to wryly as “the Nut”—the sum that allows them to hang on to the apartment, the health-care policy, the baby sitter, and the school fees.
Gigs: They’re all that’s standing between them and…what? The outer-outer boroughs? Eating what’s left of the 401(k)? Moving to Alaska? Out-and-out destitution?
To people I know in the bottom income brackets, living paycheck to paycheck, the Gig Economy has been old news for years. What’s new is the way it’s hit the demographic that used to assume that a college degree from an elite school was the passport to job security.
Brown’s musing, I’m rather certain, is meant to elicit sympathetic clucks and nods of the head from readers. But not for the individuals in the bottom income brackets because, hey, they’re used to living paycheck to paycheck and the so-called “gig” economy, but rather for the college degreed individuals who were astute enough to attend college, but not astute enough to understand that borrowing fifty to one hundred thousand dollars for a degree in Leisure Studies was an unsound investment.
Should these college degreed “gig” workers receive sympathetic clucks and nods of the head? You decide.
Just as startling, these new alternative workers are not overwhelmingly low-income. They’re college-educated Americans who earn more than $75,000 a year.
I can think of myriads of individuals who are gig workers. My son, for instance, who is a 1099 worker in the financial industry. He does not get paid unless he sells, just like any other 100% commissioned worker. I, also, am a “gig” worker, who doesn’t make a penny unless I sell. There are many, many more which could be listed. Writers are gig workers, artists are gig workers, every small business owner is a “gig” worker.
Not all gigs are great gigs, of that there is no doubt, but if an individual at least has a gig or three which keeps a bit of change jingling in their pockets, they should at least be grateful enough to say themselves “I can gig it, man.”