You may have heard that the “Great Resignation” is upon us. Across the country, countless Americans are leaving or thinking of leaving their jobs for a myriad of reasons. Whether you need to make a financial move, want to grow your career, or just want change, you should stop and consider entering the gig economy. Gig work offers a flexibility and new beginning that can benefit workers of any age, race, gender and level of experience. You could know what you want and use gig work to fill in the space until you get to your goal. Or, you might be open to new opportunities and use gig work to expand your horizons.
No matter what, don’t let your preconceived notions about the gig economy stop you from seriously considering giving it a try. Independent work could be exactly what you and your career need.
1. Gig Work Can Help You Leave a Job Without Losing Your Only Source of Income
The “Great Resignation” is already happening as workers across America put in their notice or plan to leave their full-time jobs during the summer or by the fall. There are a number of reasons people are doing this; from greater desire for work-life balance, to preferring remote work, to needing more financial stability, to simply wanting to leave a desk job.
Gig work can provide a helpful cushion if you’re eager to leave your current job but are not sure what your next step should be. It isn’t worth risking the burnout. But, leaving a job without a source of income can be risky. The flexibility that comes with the gig economy can make it a good fit for any worker that just needs some time to figure out what they need to do next.
2. You Can Use Gig Work or a Side Hustle to Explore a New Industry
The temporary nature of the gig economy can provide a fantastic springboard for you to try new jobs, duties and industries without needing to fully commit. While many people dismiss gig work as merely temporary work, you can build a network and turn a successful gig into a permanent position.
You are in control of the gigs and hours you work. Because of this, you can pick up jobs with hiring companies you’re interested in, gather experience in a new job type, or even explore a side hustle you never put time to develop. Gigs have a set start and end, which means you can make decisions after each one. You can continue, pursue a longer solution, or pivot again completely without hurting your reputation.
3. The Flexibility Can Let You Earn But Also Focus on Other Things
While having a steady salary is often preferable, being an independent worker means you can find as much or as little work as you need. You can view or negotiate prices as you choose work. This can help you understand how much time you need to spend working to earn the money you need to live comfortably.
Being able to choose your schedule can help you free up time to focus on things outside of work. For some, this could be going back to school or upskilling to land a higher paying job. For others, this could be the time to focus on taking care of your family. And, as mentioned in the last section, you might even turn to gig work so you can have the time to develop your passion project or side hustle!
4. Trying New Gigs Can Help You Grow Your Network
Another major benefit of independent gig work is that you’re bound to meet a variety of interesting people along the way. You’ll meet hiring managers and employees of companies you work at. While working, you may develop professional or even personal relationships with your fellow gig workers. You could add people to your network that you meet at a job site, while commuting, or even just in passing from one gig to the next.
The opportunities are endless, and the best part is that your network will benefit from it. Independent workers with a strong network of connections can find job opportunities or even higher paying roles before they open to the public. You could find yourself sharing a lunch break with a future start up entrepreneur or chatting with someone who inspires your career with their years of experience. (In my case, I met a hiring manager who recommended me to my current job now! Without working for them in what seemed like a one-time gig, I wouldn’t even be here writing this for you!)
5. Gig Work is There As Long as You Need It
Not everyone that enters the gig economy for independent work stays in it. And that’s okay! Gig work is a great alternative for workers to explore when they need it. Unlike traditional career paths, you can pick up gig work when you want it and not need to worry about being committed. As more and more companies rely on gig workers and freelancers to help fill their jobs, the opportunities and options in the gig world continue to grow.
Long-term gig work isn’t for everyone. Some may even be intimidated or weary of how much flexibility and unpredictability it can bring. But, if you’re feeling stuck or limited in your career, taking some time to work some gigs could give you the time, space and income you need to mentally reset.
About the Author: Jesi Bolandrina is the Content Marketing Manager at Jobble. As a former gig worker, she knows how hard it can be to feel like you know what you’re doing in an ever-changing workforce. She’s your go-to for news and information from career development, to health and wellness, to finances and more. She curates Jobble’s blog, articles and is the editor of The Everyday Hustle newsletter. If you have any ideas for topics Jobble should cover, let her know.