Combination of conversations and some things I’ve read lately cause me to want to speak (I mean scream!) about this ‘gig’ economy. Surely everyone knows this term – isn’t called job-hopping any more, it’s all about getting a ‘gig’ – so many young people who call themselves by a letter of X or Y or Millenial (some older folks too) – calling themselves, or having observers call them ‘gig economy’ folk.
I find it amusing when so many ‘gig-folk’ describe themselves as entrepreneur’s rather than what they are – poorly organized startup small businesses. Entrepreneurs are innovators. They brought us the light bulb, the assembly line, fast-food, Spanx, the iPhone. Entrepreneurs, successful or not, would never describe themselves as gig people. Neither would most small business owners.
Gig think is a rationalization that makes ‘short term contract’s or assignments = a career.
There are many descriptions, and they all mean about the same thing: we earn from our performance and completing a transaction in which goods and/or services are sold and paid for.
For most of the last 38 years I’ve been in business for myself – and the ‘eat what you kill’ metaphor seems more apropos.
Do you speak GIG?
Between gigs means ‘out of work’.
Not unlike someone handing you their business card which reads: ‘Consulting Engineer’
Also means ‘out of work’.
Not counting part-time high school days jobs, most of my working life has been a continuous series of ‘gigs’. Commission sales, fee-for-service, running my own businesses – sometimes low on customers but never out of work, never felt out of work.
‘Eat what you kill’, has been my life, my method of earning a living. Each time I close a transaction I’m looking for the next, each time I lease an office or sell a house I’m looking for the next customer. Each time I secure a relationship – make a commitment to fulfill a task, necessity requires I be looking for the next one, and the next one. Most new business comes from referrals, established and past clients and from relationships and connections I’ve make in the other segments of my life.
But I’ve never called any of it a GIG.
I call it normal …
What I think is lacking from the current ‘gig’ thinking it that so many people under 40 think it is a thing, invented by their generation, to represent freedom and creativity. Musicians get gigs, standup comedians get gigs, contractors get gigs, etc. ….. and between gigs, the pay is zero. Which is not to say work isn’t done between gigs (in small business that’s called between customers) but the more I read about the gig-economy I think too many people aren’t working on filling their pipeline of future business during their gig – so when they are suddenly ‘between gigs’ they have nothing coming in, nothing half-started, nothing ‘about to close/complete’.