PDC presenter will explain how to make today’s “gig” economy work for you
By Abbey Dodd
Looking for a traditional full-time job with a salary, benefits, and a messy desk you return to each morning? You are thinking so … 1990s. In the 21st century more and more jobs are “gig” jobs — short-term contract work, temp assignments, freelance projects. But that’s not necessarily bad. On April 20th the PDC will host job counselor Wendy Gelberg. Ms. Gelberg will explain why work and workplaces are changing, and how to thrive when many businesses aren’t making a commitment to “full-time hires.” Writer/marketing specialist Abbey Dodd interviewed Gelberg, and in this article Abbey provides a summary of what she learned from this “Career Navigator.”
Right off the bat, let’s clear up key misconceptions about the so-called “gig economy.”
First, the gig economy is not just about night-shift warehouse workers. The gig economy is pervasive, and encompasses work as varied as front-desk receptionists, highly skilled management consultants, and, yes, even musicians.
Second, all is not “doom and gloom.” In fact, there are many upsides to the gig economy, including the freedom it offers gig workers.
Third, the gig economy is the new normal. It’s not a fleeting trend, but a business model that all workers need to be ready to adjust to in terms of their own approach to their careers. It impacts people who are unemployed, under-employed, and currently employed — doing gigs, or holding traditional jobs.
On April 20th Wendy Gelberg will present the PDC course “Surviving and Thriving in the Gig Economy.” She will discuss the history of how so many jobs have become gig jobs, and share ideas about how to thrive in the “contingent” labor market. Her workshop will include guidance on how to navigate — and benefit from — being a gig professional.
A highly regarded author and speaker on this subject, Ms. Gelberg, during her 3-hour presentation, will share ideas about what the future of work will look like and how human resources departments and hiring managers likely will leverage talent resources.
On a practical level, she also will explain how to find, evaluate, and, ultimately, succeed in gig-job opportunities. She will examine what kinds of opportunities are available, and how to find them. She also will show how individuals can “brand,” or market, themselves, as gig workers.
Ms. Gelberg has 20-plus years of experience in professional coaching and advising. She has helped many people as a “Career Navigator,” including in how to experience success in the gig economy.
Spurring her current work is a new job paradigm that is growing much faster than standard payroll employment — that is, full-time, 9-to-5 jobs with benefits. Bottom line, gig-work opportunities are much more likely now to be where job-seekers find work. Citing research, Gelberg says by the year 2020 gig workers will comprise over 40 percent of the workforce.
Gelberg points out that gig work is not limited to putting in time behind the wheel as an Uber driver. Gig roles could involve … tutoring teenagers in physics. They could mean — accepting a three-month contract role as an accountant at a major corporation. They could mean — a temporary low-level customer-service job or a higher-level position providing marketing expertise.
In most cases, gig jobs offer flexibility in that workers have much more control over their own time. And as Gelberg explains, “It’s important not to discount gig-job opportunities because they can be a useful ‘springboard’ to what you ultimately may be seeking — a full-time opportunity or perhaps a new career. ‘
Nonetheless, there are drawbacks. As many workers by now recognize, gig jobs generally don’t provide health insurance or other benefits. (No employer-sponsored 401(k) plans, for example.) And for many people, there is too much uncertainty — especially for individuals who work paycheck to paycheck.
But for people who enjoy the freedom of deciding, to a large extent, how much they work, when they work, and what work they do, gig jobs are not just a backup plan. They are the ideal way to conduct a career.
Abbey Dodd is a creative marketing professional focused on consumer products. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Also in this issue of the PDC Post is a review of the book “Thriving in the Gig Economy: How to Capitalize and Compete in the New World of Work,” by Marion McGovern.