Work-life balance is an older term that was created to mean you were making sure both elements had an adequate existence in your life. Many would say that it is a pipe dream. Some people have an innate sense of being able to balance the two elements. Others are more challenged to not become workaholics. The gig economy is recently cited as the way for anyone to get more work-life balance. Now, being an active participant in the gig economy, I believe that is a myth. The gig economy can be just as brutal as working in a MegaCorp or a small business in trying to balance work and life.
What is the Gig Economy? The corporate workforce profile is radically and rapidly changing from formal long-term employment agreements to a sea of contingent workers and independent contractors. The Wall Street Journal estimates 1 in 3 US workers are now free-lancers. Corporations are paying purchase orders, not salaries. This is beyond Uber and AirBnB. All types of people are working remotely and temporarily, without the security of employer-sponsored benefits.
In the gig economy it is often assumed you are always available to do work. When it is all about the gig, there are no set hours of work time/off time, no paid vacation time. Sure, you can not work. But no-work means no-pay. And sometimes the gig is not even hourly, but based on a project deliverable. Get the work done, no matter how many hours you put in.
The gig economy also means you are always in search of the next gig. No next gig, no-pay. Everything can become about connecting and every connection can become a selling connection. I recently read a blogger who bragged about getting her next gig at a family wedding reception.
As a recovering workaholic, a gig economy can be a challenge. Saying no and keeping boundaries on work/life balance was always a challenge for me. It is easy to get caught up in the work cycle again. I am finding this the case as I do my consulting projects. Single-fee projects and my perfectionism-work-ethic are not a good combination!
Yes, as an early retiree, I’ve joined this phenomenon that is being driven by Millennials. I am an active participant in the gig economy. (I feel quite hip saying that!) And, I’ve heard the claims about this helping with work-life balance and I’m not sure it’s reality. This past month I worked way too many hours. If I continue doing consulting gigs, I’ll need to find new techniques for maintaining time for the elements of my retirement life style that I’ve learned to love (like blogging)!
Picture Credit: Pixabay