Adventures in PR Land

The Benefits (and Downsides) of Having Gigs

Posted on: October 23, 2011

Hello Everyone!!

Happy Monday ( despite writing this on Sunday), I hope all of you have a great and productive week before Halloween.

I want to dedicate this blog to all the gig- employed people, adjuncts, and multiple part-time workers. For five years I worked at two different departments as a writing tutor and now I am a writing consultant at another college.

During these two months, I have grown to like my varied work week.  Plus, I discovered the benefits and disadvantages of maintaining two jobs.

Let’s look at the pros ( in no particular order):

1) Boredom:  Once we get settled at a job, we get used to the same environment and people.  If the job does not allow for more advancement, day-to day routines can get stale. With gigs, there is a variation in one’s schedule. I don’t stay in one place long enough to get bored and I look forward to working at my other job.

2) Exposure to different office/corporate cultures: With more than one job, it makes a person flexible to different expectations, bosses, co-workers, and office environments.  For example, one boss may be more time-oriented and be a more hands-on supervisor or another boss can offer more independence and be more laid back.  Adjusting to these opposing environments each week can make one more flexible when a full-time opportunity arrives; then, a person is exposed to all types of managerial styles and can act accordingly.

3) Opportunity to learn different skill sets:  With multiple jobs, a person can be exposed to various skills because no two jobs are exactly alike ( even if they are closely related).  For example, as a writing consultant, I am responsible for facilitating weekly writing workshops. This enables me to develop my public speaking and lesson planning skills.  Also, as a lab tutor, I have to answer basic computer troubleshooting questions in addition to writing questions.  These experiences have taught me to seek transferable skills in every job duty.

Now… the cons…

1) Lack of security… sort of:  With working more than one job, this means I have to work all of them to make ends meet. This can be good or bad. If I loose one of the jobs I won’t be destitute, but I will loose a considerable amount of income.  This makes balancing duties and supervisor expectations extremely important ( but this is also a transferable skill).

2) Lack of insurance: As many gig employees know, these jobs do not offer health insurance. The catch 22 is that I am working all of these hours to make a living, but can’t afford health insurance if I get sick. My advice is to stay healthy because if you get terribly ill, then you are out of a job. This is one of the worst aspects of gigging!

3)  Wanting to settle down, but is unable to:   I want to start my career, period. However, this economy is stalling a lot of people’s career goals. Am I saying that I am settling when I work multiple jobs?  No!  I am grateful for obtaining an additional job because the financial stain was overwhelming at times.  Plus, I get to explore new career options and gain new skills. However, adult milestones such as owning a home, climbing up the corporate ladder, having a baby, getting married, etc., are virtually impossible  with gig work.

Overall, gaining skills, varying environments, and larger professional networks are the major perks of multiple part-time employment. Yet, the financial uncertainty, lack of health insurance, and yearning to begin a career can prove to be a challenge.

To all of my gig employed brothers and sisters, keep your head up.  Keep on taking the internships, and maybe it will lead to a full-time job. Continue to balance all those (sometimes conflicting) responsibilities and become a more flexible worker. Finally, be grateful for the opportunity to  work because there are millions of people out there who are willing to take your place!

Thanks again for reading and enjoy your work week.

Ms. Roberts signing off!!

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Sabrina Roberts

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