Clenuar: The future is Gig Economy

IF YOU haven’t known this yet, a current trend called “Gig Economy” is emerging. Technically, the concept is not new since this spawned during the Great Recession between 2008 to 2010 where crises led to foreclosure home mortgages, and millions of people losing their savings, jobs, and homes. This forced people to take temporary work to pay off rent, bills, and food.

Because of this, many decided to make the temporary “permanent” since there’s an opportunity to make further money out from gigs. It’s a burgeoning system of the free market where temporary work and positions are common. Organizations prefer to contract independent workers for short-term engagements.

Why not? It’s cheaper. Minus the benefits, the pay is enough to keep the gig workers’ life going.

Time is gold

The liberty of flexibility helped me understand how society has ingrained the idea of a desk job. “Get good grades, get a good (desk) job, and be happy.” This career formula doesn’t really translate success nor productivity.

A few years ago, I was working in a BPO company in Cebu beating my ass off with the 9-5 shift plus overtime for more pay. Most of the time, I’d stare at my computer screen for hours, to the point where I had to change eyeglasses every year because of the changes in my eyesight grade as well.

You add the long commute to my house and the lack of energy to cook myself a decent meal afterwards – man, it led me to hating my job. Scrolling through your social feed, you’d find people wandering off to places I wish I’ve been to. They’re working off remotely in mountains or in beaches — it was everything I wished for.

I mustered the courage, I decided not to be in this “cage” anymore. I gathered myself and applied for short-term contracts and I tell you, they pay off quite a hefty sum. And I’m fine doing that.

Remote working doesn’t hold you anything back except for Netflix and other distractions. It even allows you to think freely without a boss breathing down your neck. I can work on my bed if I don’t feel like working on a chair, or co-working spaces in the city to give me another view.

It’s kinda ‘um’ stable

If you’ve read this far, I’m sure you’re a bit reluctant believing my everyday life feels like a holiday.

Of course not.

Contrary to common belief, gigs are temporary. A contractor or an employer might go out of business one day and you’d end up losing your job. Oftentimes, there are no benefits along with the pay. No HMO, Pag-Ibig, nada.

I work longer hours than usual. Sometimes, to beat deadlines, I have to stay up more than 24 hours, but that’s when I failed to manage my time (which is frequent).

So there’s that. There’s that fear of losing the job so working hard in every contract you’re in is the only way to make this turn out to be somewhat stable. Funnily, I would never trade off my “unstable” life with a desk job.

As approaching 2020, the gig economy will comprise 47 percent of the global economy. That’s a lot of gig workers if you do the math. Since annually, it’s becoming more competitive for us, we need to expand our skillset so we can be more “attractive” to clients.

If you know how to do social media marketing but knows how to write and design as well, then you sell off like gold to employers. You see, employers nowadays would prefer paying people who can do more than just being proficient in Microsoft programs.

And what’s the best way to compete? Learn different skills. Thankfully, squirming in the gig economy makes me do things that I’m not capable of doing before. That’s the gratification the instability provides compared to the desk job.

In the future, AI and machine learning are inevitable. It is predicted by the World Economic Forum that they will replace manual labor by 2022. However, they will complement workers who have various skill sets.

(Alyssa Clenuar is a “digital nomad”. But that word is overused and has bad connotations around it. She is passionate about helping clients from around the globe in solving their problems. And she loves the Internet so much that she found a way to make a living out of it.


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