Monday, January 12, 2009

Welcome to the Age of Gigonomics

Tina Brown writes perceptively -- and a tad scarily -- about downsized workers (writers and editors, primarily) who now sustain (or at least try to sustain) project-to-project free-lance careers. What they rely upon, Brown says, are sporadic gigs -- "free-floating projects, consultancies, and part-time bits and pieces they try and stitch together to make what they refer to wryly as 'the Nut' — the sum that allows them to hang on to the apartment, the health-care policy, the baby sitter, and the school fees." For people in lower income brackets, living paycheck to paycheck, "the Gig Economy has been old news for years. What’s new is the way it’s hit the demographic that used to assume that a college degree from an elite school was the passport to job security."

Brown is especially insightful as she details "this penny-ante slog of working three times as hard for the same amount of money (if you’re lucky) or a lot less (if you’re not). Minus benefits, of course." It's the lifestyle to which I had to be become accustomed back in 1995, after the closing of The Houston Post. (Things have improved slightly in the past two years, but still...) I had no idea at the time that -- even though I ain't got no elite school degree -- I was on the cutting-edge of a significant socioeconomic shift.

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