No more hired to retired: the multi-gig workstyle is here

Categories: Random Thoughts
A generation ago, you graduated from school, got a job at a company and you stayed there until you retired. It was expected and if you didn't stay at a company for thirty years, there was something wrong with you. Those days are over for several reasons. First, we're more mobile than we were a generation ago. We move from city to city, even country to country for personal reasons and for opportunities. Second, the economy and technological changes have forced 1,000's of the businesses to close and entire industries to fold. But the biggest reason we've given up the hired to retired lifestyle is because we don't have to do it anymore. Technology, and more specifically the internet, has made it possible to work 30 jobs in one year instead of 1 job in 30 years and I like it. Maybe you can wrap your brain around it better if I call them gigs or projects or side hustles instead of jobs. "Job" implies a certain stability that doesn't suit this new workstyle. For example, I'm a social media manger. That's my "job" but I don't work for just one company. I handle social media for a variety of clients. Some short term, some long term, some start-ups and some established companies. Most would call that freelancing but there's another aspect that makes it a little different than the traditional meaning of that word. Suppose, in addition to social media for clients, you also run an eBay business and drive an Uber car. That's 3 different gigs (more if you could each client as a gig). You also rent your home on Airbnb so you can travel and blog about thrifting in every state. (Gig 4, gig 5. . . ) How many gigs can one person have at a time? Maybe 10 before you'd lose your sanity. But remember, many of these are short term so you drop a gig here and pick up another there. You could easily work on 30 different projects in one year. Times 30 years. . . wow - that's a lot of . . . everything! It sounds overwhelming and it can be, but it can also be exhilarating. I've been living the multi-gig life for more than 10 years and I wouldn't give it up for any single paycheck. (OK, I might give it up for a half a million dollar job on a TV show. . . . ) But not everyone is cut out for this life. Here are the pros and cons of being a multi-gig worker.

Income:

Pro: you can make as much as you want as long as you find the right gigs Con: no steady paycheck, no benefits, and taxes are a pain

Flexibility:

Pro: you can set your own schedule which means you can be home for the kids or go to the movies on a Wednesday afternoon. Con: time off means you're not getting paid. So unless you have a solid passive income stream, you might work more than you did when you were employed.

Environment:

Pro: you can work where ever you want. Home if you like. Starbucks. The beach. Con: constantly changing gigs is a lonely biz. You'll talk to a lot of new people every week but it's not like the office lunchroom or meeting for drinks after work.

Engagement:

Pro: you can learn something new everyday and when you're bored you can walk away and find another gig. Con: you have to always be looking for new gigs while working the gigs you have. This can be tiresome but for people like me, the good far outweighs the bad. With the sharing economy taking off and more ways than ever to find gigs online, there's no reason why you can't make this lifestyle work for you if you really want it to. Need help getting started? Leave your questions in the comment section of this post and I'll do my best to give you a push in the right direction.

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