How to Thrive, Not Just Survive, in a Gig Economy
This is our reality – most of us have more than one job and these multiple jobs can create chaos, or, we can manage them in such a way as to make them pay while we keep our sanity.
The U.S. Census Report showed that while a majority of the employed held only one job, those with two or more jobs make up 8.3% of the workforce. That means that about 13 million workers in the U.S. have more than one job!
The nexus of this phenomenon with our “gig economy” means that many of us have more than one job and one of those jobs might be temporary or seasonal. How to make a living from this and how to juggle multiple jobs successfully? Here’s how.
Make a Budget and Determine Income Needs
Before you take on multiple jobs, you need to know how much income you need to meet your expenses. You also need to save for retirement, because pensions are becoming a thing of the past, and more people have multiple jobs over their lifetime than ever before, with little opportunity to build up a pension with one company.
Simply put, a budget is a list of your necessary expenses, with some discretionary spending and emergency and long-term savings provided for as well. Adding these up will give you the number you are shooting for (or the number to exceed!).
Identifying Jobs You Can Do and Want to Do
Many people who have multiple jobs have a “day gig” which is semi-permanent and can be relied upon for steady if insufficient, income. They are likely employees and get the same amount or similar amount of hours per pay period.
Identifying what sort of day gig you would want to do depends upon your interests and skills as well as what sort of schedule you want to keep free for your other jobs. A good source for part-time day jobs is Craigslist. Also, putting it out there on social media that you are available to do XYZ thing will capture any word-of-mouth opportunities.
If you have no particular professional skills, consider an entry-level position somewhere where you can learn some. While these positions will likely not pay very well, you can’t put a price on an education in a field you are attracted to. Offering to take an instructional course in a field you are attracted to is a good way to make yourself a more attractive candidate.
Learning on the job is valuable for both employee and employer, in that the employee is incentivized to learn by his or her pay, and the employer gets to train the employee in the employer’s preferred approach.
If you are unsuccessful in finding an opportunity like this, consider other jobs that require little training, such as working as a cashier or temporary office help. This will get the income flowing at least, and show a positive work history when you do identify a day job opportunity that you want.
Juggling Multiple Jobs
Juggling multiple positions is about managing the expectations of those you work for, and making smart choices about what sort of jobs can be held concurrently.
First, know that if you work as an employee in your day job, that employer-employee relationship creates greater expectations in your employer than say a freelance or independent contractor relationship would. Your employer would rightfully expect that you would accept additional hours or more duties over time, in exchange of course for more income. Bear that in mind.
Freelancers and individual contractors have greater freedom to accept or turn down work and to make their own schedule, but they must constantly hustle to find more temporary contract opportunities. Also, there is little access to benefits or pension in these situations. However, many of today’s workers are entrepreneurs that are comfortable assuming these risks.
The types of positions one can hold concurrently are limited only by our imaginations. For example, I know a waitress at breakfast/lunch diner who is a jazz singer at night. Her bass player drives an Uber during the day. A scuba diving instructor friend of mine is a nighttime security guard. A retiree friend receiving social security is a greeter at a local big box store.
Consecutive Full-Time Seasonal Positions
In this gig economy, there are opportunities to work full time temporarily depending upon the location and the season. For example, professional lifeguards in California can be ski instructors in Colorado in the winter. An owner of an Italian ice truck in New Jersey can be a Lake Okefenokee swamp tour guide in the winter.
Again, juggling seasonal positions is a matter of working with your employer to set start and end dates that make sense for both of you.
Having a budget, being aware of your skills and interests, and making smart choices about what positions may be worked concurrently or consecutively will help you thrive, not just survive.
About the Author
Veronica Baxter is a blogger and legal assistant working and living in the great city of Philadelphia. She frequently works for busy Philadelphia bankruptcy lawyer David M. Offen, Esq.