The Gig Economy

Wondering if any have participated in the Gig Economy.

It started with Uber and Lift then food Delivery (DoorDash, Uber Eats etc) and now Amazon and WalMart Spark.

Youtube is filled with videos about the Various Gigs.
Walmart Spark seems to be getting good reviews.

Is the Gig economy the reason for the Employee Shortage.
Will we soon run out of these Gig workers.

Frankly. I was a bit too soon. After 30 years of being cooped up in an office, I would have tried it 15 to 20 years ago.

I am reminded of the retired Uber driver who took us to the Airport. He shared that he only drove about 4 hours a day, got several Airport runs and called it a day… supplemented his retirement.

This stuff could have worked in the late 1990’s into 2000’s if we had the smart phones back then. I credit that technology with allowing all this peer to peer sharing stuff.

Remember, we had Web Van or whatever it was called in the dotcom era that would deliver groceries. Maybe there is more to compel people to do gig jobs now but when I was younger in the dotcom era, I would have jumped on self-employment type opportunities like these. I think we have a lot more means to allow gig jobs. And people in a broad cross-section do not need/want to do a 9 to 5 or cubicle job too.

I can’t do any of that I need good health benefits. Obamacare not accepted by the hospital I need to access.

I delivered for Postmates for a few months when I had about 5,000 dollars of student loans left and was super eager to pay them off for good. My “side hustle” as Dave Ramsey would call it.

I had a pretty positive experience with it, honestly. I love listening to podcasts and audiobooks while driving so delivering food to people for cash was a great excuse to work through the titles I had downloaded on Audible whilst being productive.

I do vividly recall that every McDonalds order turned into a giant mess because it always felt like the person ordering the food would always ask for a milkshake and we all know how those ice cream machines love to break down. Nothing quite like having to call a complete stranger and ask if they wanted a different dessert item…

Ultimately, though, the money I was bringing in wasn’t exactly life-changing. Probably a couple hundred extra bucks each week, which was fine by me since I was putting virtually all of my cash into debt payments, but I never thought of it as something I could do full-time INSTEAD of my job. Too much hassle at a certain point for what you bring in. In fact, once I was completely debt free, I took a “break” from delivering and haven’t returned yet. :man_shrugging:t2:

I was in a rural college and really broke, but I had a car and gasoline at that time was 29 cents a gallon (wow, it WAS that long ago). In the dorm, the guys would go down to the basement and play cards (and drink). I would make dinner runs to the local hamburger stand and was always told to keep the change. That change paid for my dinner and gas.

What’s difference between a Gig worker and a contract worker?

Aside from the the feature of being totally reactionary, the Gig worker appears to me to be similar to piece-work compensation limitations and/or having a middleman taking a cut out of the income stream.

A couple important differences depending on the terms of the Contract Worker.

Most Contract Workers have a schedule. it may be flexible but few allow a month off.

A Gig worker (as the term is mostly used) can pick and choose what opportunities to accept or reject. Many gig workers sign on with multiple companies… Uber&Lyft
DoorDash&Uber Eats &Postmates. They decide the assignments to accept or reject. Walmart Spark &Amazon Delivery. They quickly learn the hours to work and when not to.

In a way this reminds me a Story my uncle told me many years ago. He worked in a factory and got incentive pay, calculated by the week. He said if he gets a job assignment on a Friday where he knows he cannot at least make the standard, he suddenly gets a headache. A gig worker would simply not accept

Watch a few Youtube videos. There are a bunch of well spoken gig workers who explain how to work the system.

Listening to them, one wonders why they do not have jobs that pays more than $25 an hour. Generally $25 an hour is the target although many have difficulty making $15 after expenses.

You can be a real estate agent and work under a broker but not have assigned hours or minimum hours worked. You can be a contractor for lots of organizations and have your contract not dictate methods, just the deliverables you provide them. In both of those cases you are a proactive participant and not tied to a specific salary or hourly wage.

It sounds like the deliverables that Gig workers supply are pretty much tied to fees paid for transportation and retail delivery services and those are measured in cents per mile and $ per hour. The average person should be able to figure out that there’s not much money to be had in an earnings structure like that.