If conventional work – even if you are working autonomously in an environment that gives you a sense of personal control – isn’t what appeals, then the opportunities provided by the glistening gig economy might sound like the answer. And while the gig economy can be highly convenient and very welcome the reality is that it provides only part of the answer, not the entire cavalry riding over the hill to save us.
How Does The Gig Economy Fit In?
The sharing economy; the gig economy; the on-demand, peer, or platform economy – are all names for the same thing. At its broadest definition, they refer to a world where workers take on individual projects and other freelance work rather than signing on with one long-term employer.
A more commonly held understanding is that it refers to organisations that are typically online and have ratings-based marketplaces. In a long, but fascinating, insight into the gig economy, an article in The New York times confirms that the gig economy is still evolving, is still confusing, and seems to work best for people whose purpose in life is to become something larger, and more fulfilling – being an actor or artist – and that gigging is a useful, and sometimes critical, financial support.
Several of my friends have useful top up incomes from the gig economy – stamp dealing, Airbnb, advising on social media, etc – but in each case they are add-ons to reasonable pensions, or other constant income streams. Which combined leave them time to follow their passions (and the other three Autonomies).
The reality is that’s it’s not always fulfilling.
For the most part gigging is a useful financial crutch, rather than a provider of meaning and satisfaction that will make the next twenty or thirty years of your life exciting and fulfilling.
And that is no bad thing. Finding satisfaction and fulfilment in your work comes from adding value. And for Generation Cherry, adding value offline – in the real world – is where we can really thrive.
Creating value for older people stems largely from the special type of value we can create. And this value tends to be created mostly from one human being to another in a real world environment. An environment where you can smell, through physical proximity, if someone has integrity, genuine insight and kindness.
The gig economy is a heaven-sent opportunity to generate welcome income. It is varied, flexible and has the potential for endless creativity and value creation. But unless you are lucky and hit a golden streak – which you may do – the more solid virtues of the real, offline world may offer greater opportunity to find a core income that provides satisfaction and fulfilment, as well as money.
Yes, the gig economy is wonderful. But it’s the dessert. Don’t forget the traditional economy is still likely to be a more rewarding main course.