Thursday, January 10, 2019

Review of "Gigged: The End of the Job and the Future of Work," by Sarah Kessler

Review of
Gigged: The End of the Job and the Future of Work, by Sarah Kessler ISBN 9781250097897

Five out of five stars
 As a factual background, I must state that I left a full-time job in the first months of 1998 and became a player in the gig economy. However, I spent a year researching and saving for the move and when I left I had over $10,000 in work lined up and 11 days of vacation pay coming to me. I was successful in my endeavors until I was persuaded to take another full-time job several years later. Therefore, I have some experience in working and not knowing precisely what I would be doing in three months, relying on my skills and contacts to find the next gig.
 If there is a theme to this book, it is that companies are using the concept of “independent contractor” as a tactic to avoid paying decent wages and benefits. Some of the companies that have been portrayed as darlings of the gig economy where people can work their own hours are depicted as exploitative. When all of their expenses are considered, many of the people working for companies like Uber are in fact making less than the legal minimum wage.
  When you are operating in the gig economy, you only get paid when you work, there are no paid vacation or sick days, no health benefits  and Kessler goes to great lengths to explain how many companies are engaged in a new form of exploitation of workers. The only fringe benefits available to most people are those of little value.
 The advent of the internet has led to the dispersion of digital work around the globe. Simple tasks that pay only a few cents are eagerly snapped up by people in other countries, where such a wage has greater meaning. This also leads to a drop in the wage rate, as there is much more competitive bidding for the jobs.
 This book should be read by anybody that is considering entering the gig economy, it will inject a dose of reality into the brain of any person that thinks they can make a decent living doing tasks such as driving for Uber. It is a much harder task than you think it is, even harder than it was in 1998, when I did it.

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