If you’re graduating college or grad school in a few months, then don’t bother to get a job. Instead, get multiple gigs. That’s the message from Diane Mulcahy, author of the recently published book The Gig Economy.
Earlier this month I had the good fortune to meet with her for breakfast. Her idea is simple: Rather than seek a job, it’s far better to find your niche in the so-called gig economy, a.k.a. selling services direct to more than one corporation simultaneously.
What seems to sum up the matter well is the following comment from her book:
“For workers who are skilled, the Gig Economy provides opportunities to turn good jobs into great work. For less-skilled workers in traditionally “bad jobs,” it offers the potential to turn those bad jobs into better work.”
This advice of hers will seem odd to the many people used to the idea that we should all try to climb the corporate ladder. Words such as “risky,” “uncertain,” and “unstable,” are often used when talking about going out on your own.
Jobs offer an illusion
But the truth is that finding work in the form of multiple gigs isn’t anymore risky than taking a job, and in fact may be less unstable. Yes, taking a job with a blue chip corporation does have the illusion of safety. Author and entrepreneur James Altucher has mentioned it frequently. It’s the illusion that is the problem.
Long gone are the days when employers stayed loyal to their employees through the ups and downs of the business cycle. Now more commonly the attitude, and frequently the actions, is to cut staff the very moment revenue slips. In short, when your boss messes up the business, the cost of failure is the loss of your job. The boss will likely keep their position.
A ‘gigster’ has agency
Contrast the fragile corporate environment with someone who offers graphic design services to many corporations, for example. If the business from one customer dries up, then there is still work at the others. What’s more, you can go and get new clients for yourself. Within a company, especially a large one, roles are often defined in a way that doesn’t allow most people to do so. In short, if you are in the gig economy you have more of what economists call ‘agency.’ You can go out and hustle new business.
Mulcahy knows this matter well, and she’s been teaching students how to succeed in the gig economy for years, long before most people had ever heard of it. She says institutions and people seem to have a problem taking the new economic realities on board. Career’s services departments at business schools typically aren’t set up to help people in the gig economy. And college graduates don’t have many role models to look to for inspiration. Still, it is the new reality.
Anyone considering making the jump into the gig economy should read Mulcahy’s book. It explains why it makes sense and details many of things you need to know.
This article was written by Simon Constable from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.