Books

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Gigged: The End of the Job and The Future of Work’ by Sarah Kessler

c.2018, St. Martin’s Press
$25.99 ($33.99 Canada)
289 pages

Your allowance was never enough as a kid.

Oh, sure, it bought you what you needed but what you wanted, well, you had to figure that out yourself. A dime here, a dollar there, little chores-for-pay, tasks for Grandma and you made it work. And as you’ll see in the new book, “Gigged” by Sarah Kessler, some things never change.

Back in 2011, when she was a reporter for a tech blog, Sarah Kessler became aware of a new start-up that utilized nontraditional workers in nontraditional ways. It was called Uber, and its business concept seemed unusual; having grown up in rural Wisconsin, Kessler had no frame of reference, and she paid it little heed.

Eventually, though, she began to see that the model Uber was using — modified in so many ways — was being used for a lot of start-ups and could, potentially, benefit a lot of people. Was this gig economy really the way of the future?

It had been around awhile: in the early 1970s, Kelly Girls were available for temp work; becoming a Kelly Girl was advertised as a way to pay for life’s extras. But, no surprise, research showed then — as it does now — that temp working and gig economy jobs are taken more as a way to make ends meet.

Intrigued, Kessler began following a few people who paid the bills with a string of nontraditional jobs they took for a variety of reasons. She followed an African-American man who tried to bring the gig economy to his impoverished and not-so-mobile town. Other profiles were of the young and tech-savvy (or learning). Their backgrounds varied, as did their races; in other words, they fit in with the average gig worker, the numbers of which “grew 47-fold between 2012 and 2015.”

While gig-working did indeed pay the bills for Kessler’s subjects, she also learned that it was not all good. Yes, there was “independence, flexibility and freedom” but at what price? For workers, it offered often-low pay, few-to-no benefits, and no safety net. For employers, it saved money, but the hassles were daunting and “churn” could churn one’s stomach …

So is this “what the future might look like,” as author Sarah Kessler says? In “Gigged,” she offers some tantalizing clues and more than one caveat.

For anyone who’s stuffed envelopes for pennies, or wondered if there’s real cash to be made gigging, this book sets it straight: Kessler’s subjects made money but it was hard, hard work and none of them are still gig-economy workers. Recommendations are sparse. That says a lot.

For business owners, it’s more complicated: temp workers and small tasks seem to go hand in hand, but Kessler outlines many laws and rules that might make your head rotate like a spin mop. And, as it appears, further legislation is coming …

Readers would be correct in assuming that we haven’t heard the final word on this subject. Change occurs frequently. In the meantime, “Gigged” is interesting, informative, and timely — and until the dust has settled, that’ll have to be enough.

Tags
Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Washington Informer Newspaper, 3117 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington, DC, 20032, http://www.washingtoninformer.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Back to top button

My News Matters to me - Washington Informer Donations

Be a Part of The Washington Informer Legacy

A donation of your choice empowers our journalists to continue the work to better inform, educate and empower you through technology and resources that you use.

Click Here Today to Support Black Press and be a part of the Legacy!

Subscribe today for free and be the first to have news and information delivered directly to your inbox.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Washington Informer Newspaper, 3117 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington, DC, 20032, http://www.washingtoninformer.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact
Close

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker