By now you’ve probably heard about the gig economy, and let’s face it– the phrase isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, predictions show 43% of the workforce is expected to fall under this category by 2020. Just in case you’re not familiar with the term, a gig economy is defined as, “a labor market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs.”
For most of last year, I was a part of that gig economy. I spent the year picking up temporary work assignments for as little as one day and as long as three months. In my time bouncing from company to company and position to position, I learned a lot. You see, when I started my venture in the gig economy I left a disappointing ‘dream job’ and didn’t know which direction to go next. So I got a referral for a staffing company from a friend and began my journey. That referral set me up for a whirlwind of a year that ultimately landed me my current position.
During my year in the gig economy I learned some very valuable life lessons anyone could benefit from:
Don’t let your pride or fear stop you.
First, I learned the importance of not turning down a job I thought I was too good for or not good enough for. If I was too proud or scared, I would have missed out on some amazing opportunities.
I worked every position my recruiter put me up for. I worked at some amazing companies with awesome office culture!
I also learned so much about different leadership styles and office dynamics. Most importantly though, I had the opportunity to try out things I wouldn’t have otherwise. It helped me realize what type of position and companies I’d want to pursue in the future.
Flexibility is another big skill you gain by taking temporary work. As a temp, you have to be ready to go anywhere for the next job. Although it was a little stressful not knowing if I had a job the next week. It kept me on my toes. That flexibility and adaptability helped me adjust to all of the different companies and company cultures. I worked in about five different offices with their own unique dynamics.
I had to adapt and learn quickly to pick up new roles and technologies—that’s a skill that will always help you land a permanent job when you’re ready.
Make meaningful connections.
Connections! Connections! Connections! Working a temporary assignment is great because every new job is another place you can network! I learned how important it is to be yourself and make a good impression on everyone you meet at every assignment. Even something as simple as a LinkedIn connection could have a big impact later on. You never know when you might need a reference or if that person can connect you to a job or a key contact at another company.
My advice to anyone who wants to try out the gig economy before settling into a permanent position is to DO IT! I’ll admit, it was nerve-wracking at times, not knowing where you’ll be working or what exactly you’ll be doing, BUT the skills I gained and the experience I had made it all worth it.