The Nitty Gritty:
- Who falls into the gig economy
- Why “job” is a pretty modern concept
- How entrepreneurs are creating personal safety nets as the gig economy evolves
On this week’s episode of Profit. Power. Pursuit., I speak with Marion McGovern, founder of M Squared Consulting, one of the first gig economy companies before the term was even coined, and author of Thriving in the Gig Economy and A New Brand of Expertise.
Since I’m so passionate about the emerging new economy, I was eager to pick Marion’s brain on the subject. We discuss who falls into the gig economy, how “job” is actually a pretty modern concept, the challenges of navigating your personal safety net as an independent worker and more.
Who falls into the gig economy?
A gig is work that is of uncertain duration and done not tethered to a particular client or single employer.
– Marion McGovern
Since the government stopped tracking numbers for independent workers, it’s hard to figure out exactly who and how many professionals work in the gig economy, but it’s truly not all Uber drivers. Those who work in the gig economy are people who are not tethered to a particular client or single employer and who take on work that is uncertain in duration. Even though the gig economy has gotten a lot of press lately due to digital platforms, gigs have been around since jazz musicians in the 1920s committed to playing gigs and moved around from club to club.
Job versus work
It’s all about the work they are doing as opposed to the JOB they are doing.
– Marion McGovern
“What do you do,” is a common question at any cocktail hour and illustrates our current focus on the jobs we do rather than the work that we do. Interestingly, our current concept of a job—a regular remunerative position—came to be in the 1920s and 1930s when it became associated with regular employment at a singular employer. As Marion explains on the podcast, she would like us to get away from defining ourselves by the job title and get back to the work we do and why we do it.
Professionals in the gig economy are starting to deal with being cut off from the benefits and safety networks that they were accustomed to in a traditional economy. Entrepreneurs are building businesses to address their specific needs and businesses that rely on independent labor are working to help solve the issue. Handy has worked with the New York legislature to create a portable benefits structure—a structure where benefits would associate with the worker rather than the employer—since its business is a network of household service providers. ShiftPixy is another company that is responding to the needs of a gig economy by consolidating opportunities for shift work in one place so that workers can build full-time consistent employment. Another example is Bunker Insurance who makes it possible for freelancers and independent contractors to get the liability insurance they need for some jobs under flexible terms and in an affordable way. They are totally disrupting the insurance market to provide gig economy professionals what they need to succeed.
To get all the nitty-gritty details of the gig economy, tune in to the full episode and hear our entire conversation.
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