If you’ve heard of the gig economy before, you may not be sure if you’re apart of it. Are you a full time employee in a full time job? If not, you’re most likely within the “gig community” and may not have even known it.
According to Diane Mulcahy, professor of the “Gig Economy” class at Babson College in Boston, the gig economy covers anyone from a contractor, a consultant, a freelancer, a part time worker, and even on demand workers. Clearly it includes a lot of different professions, industries, sectors, and income levels.
Mulcahy is an expert on the gig economy, and has also written a book on the subject. To start off by giving you some of her wisdom, here are the ten “rules” Mulcahy lists to become successful in this economy.
1. Define your success
3. Create your own security
4. Connect without networking
5. Face fear by reducing risk
6. Take time off between gigs
7. Be mindful about time
8. Be financially flexible
9. Think access, not ownership
10. Save for a traditional retirement, but don’t plan on having one
Now let’s look at some of these aspects in more detail. Creating your own security and thinking access, not ownership are two very big points in today’s day and age. Within the job market, full time jobs are actually decreasing in favor of people who can do the work on the side or part time. There are so many changes in the business world that you can’t rely on any one job or any one employer. Full time jobs aren’t going to disappear completely and most people will hold full time jobs at some point during their career, but that isn’t what graduating students these days should strive for.
Therefore: create your own security. Figure out what your skillsets and expertise are, then brainstorm what kind of gigs you can do. There won’t be the financial and job security for something such as buying a house or a car, but with more living and transportation options available, those things aren’t as necessary as they used to be.
“The gig economy is here: it’s growing, it’s growing quickly, and it’s here to stay.”
The gig economy is also an economy of skills. You really have to constantly keep track of what your skills are, what your expertise is, what your value to the market is, and what people are willing to pay you. This falls under diversifying yourself and defining your own success. Ask yourself, how can you gain new skills? How can you expand your network and develop new opportunities for yourself? Developing this mindset is the most important.
Also on Mulcahy’s list is connecting without networking. This is especially important for introverts who abhor situations where they have to walk around a crowded room, introducing themselves to people who might be important. Great news--you don’t have to do that anymore.
Writing is actually one of the best and easiest ways to make connections with people. This could be on social media--tweeting or having a dynamic Facebook page-- or it could be writing articles for an industry publication or a blog. If you’re comfortable with speaking, you could also put out podcasts to reach people. With these techniques, people will come to you, which also makes your audience much more targeted and relevant to you. You have to put yourself out there, but on your own terms.
So what are some other skills that are important to have as a “gigger”? Make sure you’re somewhat proactive in the entrepreneurial field, as gigging often goes hand in hand with entrepreneurship, and make sure you have the financial wherewithal to go out into the gig economy. Savings and a lifestyle that’s financially flexible is what makes surviving in the gig economy both successful and beneficial.
With all of this information to digest, there’s just one point left to take in: make sure to take time off.
“Time is the new money--that is the scarce resource that we all are facing.”
Whether it’s for a week or a year, give yourself time to figure out what you want and hone in the skills you need to succeed.
We all struggle with how to balance professional and personal lives, and the gig economy allows you so many more opportunities to do that effectively.
In 2016, I finally found my voice. I always thought I had one, especially as a business owner and mother of two vocal toddlers, but I had been wrong.
For more than 30 years, I had been struggling with the fear of being my true self and speaking my truth. Then the repressed memories of my childhood sexual abuse unraveled before me while raising my 3-year-old daughter, and my life has not been the same since.
Believe it or not, I am happy about that.
The journey for a survivor like me to feel even slightly comfortable sharing these words, without fear of being shamed or looked down upon, is a long and often lonely one. For all of the people out there in the shadows who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse, I dedicate this to you. You might never come out to talk about it and that's okay, but I am going to do so here and I hope that in doing so, I will open people's eyes to the long-term effects of abuse. As a survivor who is now fully conscious of her abuse, I suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and, quite frankly, it may never go away.
It took me some time to accept that and I refuse to let it stop me from thriving in life; therefore, I strive to manage it (as do many others with PTSD) through various strategies I've learned and continue to learn through personal and group therapy. Over the years, various things have triggered my repressed memories and emotions of my abuse--from going to birthday parties and attending preschool tours to the Kavanaugh hearing and most recently, the"Leaving Neverland" documentary (I did not watch the latter, but read commentary about it).
These triggers often cause panic attacks. I was angry when I read Barbara Streisand's comments about the men who accused Michael Jackson of sexually abusing them, as detailed in the documentary. She was quoted as saying, "They both married and they both have children, so it didn't kill them." She later apologized for her comments. I was frustrated when one of the senators questioning Dr. Christine Blasey Ford (during the Kavanaugh hearing) responded snidely that Dr. Ford was still able to get her Ph.D. after her alleged assault--as if to imply she must be lying because she gained success in life.We survivors are screaming to the world, "You just don't get it!" So let me explain: It takes a great amount of resilience and fortitude to walk out into society every day knowing that at any moment an image, a sound, a color, a smell, or a child crying could ignite fear in us that brings us back to that moment of abuse, causing a chemical reaction that results in a panic attack.
So yes, despite enduring and repressing those awful moments in my early life during which I didn't understand what was happening to me or why, decades later I did get married; I did become a parent; I did start a business that I continue to run today; and I am still learning to navigate this "new normal." These milestones do not erase the trauma that I experienced. Society needs to open their eyes and realize that any triumph after something as ghastly as childhood abuse should be celebrated, not looked upon as evidence that perhaps the trauma "never happened" or "wasn't that bad. "When a survivor is speaking out about what happened to them, they are asking the world to join them on their journey to heal. We need love, we need to feel safe and we need society to learn the signs of abuse and how to prevent it so that we can protect the 1 out of 10 children who are being abused by the age of 18. When I state this statistic at events or in large groups, I often have at least one person come up to me after and confide that they too are a survivor and have kept it a secret. My vehicle for speaking out was through the novella The Survivors Club, which is the inspiration behind a TV pilot that my co-creator and I are pitching as a supernatural, mind-bending TV series. Acknowledging my abuse has empowered me to speak up on behalf of innocent children who do not have a voice and the adult survivors who are silent.
Remembering has helped me further understand my young adult challenges,past risky relationships, anger issues, buried fears, and my anxieties. I am determined to thrive and not hide behind these negative things as they have molded me into the strong person I am today.Here is my advice to those who wonder how to best support survivors of sexual abuse:Ask how we need support: Many survivors have a tough exterior, which means the people around them assume they never need help--we tend to be the caregivers for our friends and families. Learning to be vulnerable was new for me, so I realized I needed a check-off list of what loved ones should ask me afterI had a panic attack.
The list had questions like: "Do you need a hug," "How are you feeling," "Do you need time alone."Be patient with our PTSD". Family and close ones tend to ask when will the PTSD go away. It isn't a cold or a disease that requires a finite amount of drugs or treatment. There's no pill to make it miraculously disappear, but therapy helps manage it and some therapies have been known to help it go away. Mental Health America has a wealth of information on PTSD that can help you and survivors understand it better. Have compassion: When I was with friends at a preschool tour to learn more about its summer camp, I almost fainted because I couldn't stop worrying about my kids being around new teenagers and staff that might watch them go the bathroom or put on their bathing suit. After the tour, my friends said,"Nubia, you don't have to put your kids in this camp. They will be happy doing other things this summer."
In that moment, I realized how lucky I was to have friends who understood what I was going through and supported me. They showed me love and compassion, which made me feel safe and not judged.