When you hear the word “career,” most people picture the classic nine-to-five job. Whether sitting at a desk in an office or working behind the counter at a bank, the idea of a traditional career is reinforced by society ad nauseam. But how we work is changing and in many ways due to the Internet and the proliferation of the gig economy. Today, you can make money on your own time and terms through a side job or a full-time operation. Most of us are familiar with the gig economy, even if we’re not aware of it. When you call an Uber, use TaskRabbit, or book an Airbnb you’re engaging in a market of freelancers that operate outside the traditional worker-employer ecosystem. This new system of work is largely made up of small money-making tasks completed on an as-needed basis. The idea is that one uses their skills and time for as many (or as few) jobs as they’d like. Side gigs or a full-time role, the choice is yours, and the possibilities are allegedly endless. Over the last 15 years, millennials have gradually entered the workforce, but instead of adhering to the work structure of our parents and grandparents our mindset is more interested in flexibility and personal growth.
The gig economy’s flexibility, as-needed income, and capacity for personal growth are in many ways a good match for our generation’s mindset. According to a 2011 PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report called “Millennials at work,” over 40 percent of millennials said they were open to alternative means of income. The study found a millennial’s number-one job concern to be “personal learning and development,” with flexible work hours as priority two. The gig economy’s flexibility, as-needed income, and capacity for personal growth are in many ways a good match for our generation’s mindset. Freelancing turns hobbies into professions to be done on your own time, and in some cases could supplement a conventional nine-to-five salary. The key isn’t jobs taken on a whim, it’s that young people are adapting to this new way to work and thriving in the process.
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Liz Sampey worked as a doctor of physical therapy for six years until it started to take over her life. “I had to design my life around my work, instead of vice-versa,” she told VICE Impact.
When the mundanity of her career set in, she saw the gig economy as a way out – and hasn’t looked back since. “I moved full-time into my van two years ago and I travel around the world working and playing, which are basically the same thing to me,” she said. “I do what I want and I work when I choose.” Freelancers continually must craft their portfolios and conduct ongoing
There are the standard stresses of being solely responsible for your income or fronting cash for supplies and overhead. Self-employed designers often must pay for expensive essential tools like a computer workstation or expensive programs like Adobe Creative Cloud. Similarly, drivers are required to spend money on a number of hidden costs, from insurance to an iPhone to filing special taxes. Freelancers continually must craft their portfolios and conduct ongoing
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