Thriving in a gig economy – what is this? My last two blogs have been about pondering the next career move, so continuing the theme of ‘the future’, I want to shift it to ‘future planning’, thinking about the future of teaching and learning, what that could look like and how I need to respond in my own work as a result of this thinking. I was recounting to a friend today that one of the best parts of my new career pathway is giving myself the time to think, to read, to listen, to hold conversations and then process all of that I have experienced to make my own sense of it, and to make connections to what I do now.

So, through my recent reading, there have been two articles that really resonated with me – one was shared by a friend who read the article, thought of me, and sent it on. The other article came about by accident and I ‘ran down the rabbit hole’ as I followed it up with further reading and exploration.

The first article ‘had me’ in the first sentence as it completely and accurately described my past 4 years since leaving regularly paid work to pursue educational consultancy. “Have you ever been on a trapeze?” That’s how Martha, an independent consultant, responded when we asked her to describe her work in the five years since she’d left a global consulting firm to set out on her own.” (https://hbr.org/2018/03/thriving-in-the-gig-economy). The article introduced me to the idea of ‘the gig economy’.

The article discusses 4 things needed to succeed in the gig economy. The research showed that the most effective independent workers cultivate four types of connections – to place, routines, purpose and people, and that this helps them endure the emotional ups and downs of their work. The article states “As the gig economy grows worldwide, these strategies are increasingly relevant.”

So, what’s a gig economy? It is an environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements.

The article not only engaged me but enabled me to make connections with my current work and lifestyle. I’m IN the gig economy, it defines my work and subsequently impacts my lifestyle. Over the past 4 years, since leaving regular employment, I have often thought about how I can establish ‘routine’ within a constant state of movement, travelling to and working in different countries and with different clients – how do I establish my constants? That which will enable me to feel connected and not just drifting from one place to another.

OK, so that got me thinking ….. I’ve always been clear about my purpose (I believe that my work with leaders and teachers in schools is positively impacting the learning happening in schools), I have my home base/office and my routines (eg. beach walks when I am home with the Sunday Strollers). As for the final connection, people – those who know me well would not be surprised with how I value the initiation, nurturing and maintenance of friendships and networks around the world.

I love the description of the gig economy, and I’m excited that there is a ‘label’. While I oftentimes think longingly of the ‘regular income’ that comes with a regular job, I do love my independence in my work and what I believe is important for educating children for an unknown future. At times, the chaos of my gig economy work causes some stresses, however the 4 factors identified by the article will provide the constants I need to thrive and the continuity needed for my future success.

The other article I hear you ask? Well, that is about changemakers and social entrepreneurs, so that can be for another time …

Until next time ……