What is the Gig Economy?
The gig economy is a relatively new concept that has been rapidly gaining in popularity. It describes a job market that revolves around temporary work, short-term contracts, and freelance work. It has completely opposing values to the traditional mindset that emphasizes the importance of stable, full-time work. In the gig economy, workers are sometimes paid an hourly wage, but more often they get paid upon the completion of a "gig" or a task. Examples of jobs that fall under the gig economy include: driving for Uber, providing a guided tour to visitors on Airbnb, delivering food for Foodora, coding as an independent programmer, translating, and other odd jobs, etc.
The biggest incentive for people to participate in the gig economy is definitely the flexibility that it offers. As opposed to a permanent job, gig work tends to be extremely flexible. Workers can choose their own hours. In most cases, they can even choose the type of work that they want to do. This kind of independence and control over one's personal schedule is often more attractive to those looking to improve work-life balance. In the case of students, it allows them to juggle the other priorities in life – such as their academic studies and social events. One could be delivering food today, and designing websites tomorrow! One is not required to commit to a set schedule and can opt in and out of work as needed or desired. Imagine affording yourself the flexibility to go on a hike one sunny Thursday morning and taking on a gig on a rainy Sunday afternoon instead. Not bad at all, wouldn't you say?
With flexibility comes less stability. Every gig will be different; you might be required to move around a lot and adjust constantly to a changing environment. Being a freelance worker, the opportunities for establishing relationships with coworkers are virtually non-existent. You are also not guaranteed regular income; for example, when you take vacation. There will also be little to no benefits such as health care/medical, transportation coverage, professional development/training, etc. In terms of career development, the room for growth varies greatly from gig to gig. However, it is worth mentioning that the room for growth could be quite limited for primarily the "no experience required" or transactional gigs out there, such as food delivery or concierge work.
What’s in it for Me?
Gigs are perfect for earning extra cash to supplement your income. It also provides you with a chance to try out different jobs and find your career direction. If you have some extra time on your hand, you should definitely think about picking up a few gigs. Why not make the most of those long breaks in between classes?
Gigs in B.C.
If you are interested in taking up some gigs, here are some places that you could look into:
SkipTheDishes, DoorDash, Foodora
Three of the most popular food delivery services in B.C. that are actively recruiting delivery drivers. You are required to come equipped with your own mode of transportation however (i.e. a car, scooter, or bike, etc.).
Porter | Life Just Got Easier
Porter is a concierge platform that provides all kinds of temporary work such as cleaning, handyman work, shopping & delivery, moving, administrative work, and more. They are always recruiting more porters to join the team.
Upwork is an online platform where freelancers gather and employers look for short-term contractors. Freelance categories include designers & creatives, programmers & developers, administrative support, writers & translators, finance, and sales & marketing. Note that some experience could be required to work as a freelancer on this platform.
AirBnB is an online hospitality service and marketplace. If you have some free capacity in your home to accommodate a few extra people, why not rent it out to earn some extra income? Plus, they've recently launched their "Experience" service, which allows locals to provide tours or "experiences" to travellers, such as a bike tour or surfing lessons. Sign up is free and everyone is eligible!