I’m not sure who first coined the term, “gigonomics,” but it has been a growing employment trend for at least the past decade, and especially prevalent over the last several years. Gigonomics is where an individual’s income comes from various jobs or “gigs,” instead of all from one employer. This might include several part-time jobs, contracts, or temp work. Some may elect this path out of a need for survival, but others will thrive at this and make a career path out of this model.
Some people who would flourish at gigonomics still struggle with the stigma of not a having a “real” job. By having one full-time job, they feel a truer sense of legitimacy and stability. But is “permanent” employment really more secure? Many financial planners warn investors about the dangers of picking only one stock. While it could certainly go up, it also can go down, and the investor has virtually no control in either outcome. Instead, many savvy long-term investors choose mutual funds to help diversify their portfolios and limit their risk and exposure to any one particular firm. By spreading their money around, they can survive greater volatility of any one stock without suffering greater damages. People who successfully make gigonomics work understand this need to diversify their employment portfolio. Instead of having all their eggs in one employer’s basket, they create their own mutual fund of work and jobs. This creates multiple channels of income and allows for a greater sense of freedom and enjoyment.
But what about security? The surprising news is that many gig veterans would say they feel more secure about their work and future than most full-time employees. If one of the gigs were to be reduced or eliminated, this person would only need to replace a percentage of their overall work. Sometimes this can even be done by increasing the hours at one of the other gigs while they continue networking for other possibilities. If a full-time person loses their employment, they have to start looking to replace all of their income. This can be very challenging, especially when trying to the find the right environment, location, compensation, and job duties all in one spot. If bills are piling up, this can put added pressure to what already is a difficult situation.
Another potential benefit of gigonomics is higher compensation. Some skill sets can earn significantly more on a per hour basis when employed in a part-time capacity. It is worth it to many companies to pay a little more for the convenience of having the right person on an as needed basis. These types of relationships can be maintained for many years, too, since it allows companies to control their costs with no strings attached.
Finally, gigonomics allows a person to add variety. Many people have multiple gifts and talents, but feel they must choose only one path with traditional employment. But what if you enjoy IT work and are also are a concert pianist? With gigonomics, the choice is yours. You can choose to work all in one field or spread your time amongst two or more areas of interest or expertise.
While it may not be for everyone, learning to employ gigonomics can be a great way to help combine your occupation with your vocation.