Working the Gig!

We hear it all over the news and social media today, it is the current buzzword, and the current lightening rod for debate - the Gig Economy. You hear on the news of Uber drivers ‘striking’ for better pay. That these ‘employees’ are being exploited for profit. That the companies are ‘skirting’ labor laws and should be punished, fined, or forced to change to meet the needs of the workers.


I am sorry, (no i’m not) but this is all BULLSHIT. The Gig Economy was created by people who had a great idea. The idea that there are untapped resources in our world, and unmet demand. I have a car and a driver sitting idle for 10 hours a day, and you need a ride to the local bar for a night out. Supply meet demand. I am busy at work and I need to get lunch. You have the time to get me lunch, and the car to do it in. I pay you to do my errand for me. We both win. This is simple. And the software guys who came up with the idea - they are facilitating the transaction. That is all they do.

These ideas, they were not generated to bypass labor laws, taxi regulations, or room rental codes. The ‘inventors’ had a simple idea and used the technology of today to put it in action. Certainly they all wanted to build a successful business. Certainly they wanted to find a way to make money from their invention. That is capitalism, and it is most certainly not illegal.

The Gig Economy was created to provide ‘freelance’ work to untapped resources. They could be programmers, designers, drivers, empty bedrooms, and on and on. These companies were not designing full-time jobs. There is a market out there for full-time employment. If you want to drive people around all day - then go be a cabby. If you want to do design work - go be a graphic designer. Have a couple of extra bedrooms to rent- open a bed and breakfast. And you pay to do the advertising and find the customers.

But keep in mind - when you go get a full-time job, with better pay (questionable), and benefits, and vacation time, you also get a boss. That’s right, someone who expects you to work a certain amount of hours, at specific times of the day, and produce a specific amount of work. You can’t (generally speaking) come and go as you please. You can’t (generally speaking) put your resources to work when it is convenient for you. Oh and the bed and breakfast you opened. You have to put in countless hours taking care of your customers on their schedule and find the time to run the business side of things when you are not.


Newsflash - if you don’t think Uber is paying you enough to pickup drunk Dave at the bar at 2am. Then DON’T DO IT. Don’t sign in to the app, do not say you are available, do not put the extra cash in your pocket. DON’T DO IT. That is the Gig Economy. If you have the resource and you want to use it - then use it - if not - then don’t. You cannot possibly be exploited if you are in 100% control of if and when you decide to go to work. Yeah I know you need the money, we all do, so use that flexibility and go find a job as an employee (if that is what you want and need.)

The labor laws we have were created over a hundred years of employers, workers and unions. They are designed to protect the worker and to protect the company. Subcontractor status has very specific points that you must hit to maintain that status. These companies are doing their part, the workers are doing theirs. I am not suggesting that laws should not change and adapt to changes in our world, but they should not change just because your life choices are not financially viable.

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