Article: The elusive nature of a gig worker's success

Talent Management

The elusive nature of a gig worker's success

In a world that is obsessed with who is the most successful of us all, how do gig workers define success with that inconsistent career paths?
The elusive nature of a gig worker's success

Graduate, opt for higher studies if you wish, get a job, keep getting promoted, buy a house, car, etc. Congratulations, you have just been declared a successful person as per societal norms. Our definition of success or so-called 'arriving' has been defined by materialistic well-being with a step-by-step guide handed over to us orally. More or less everyone follows a similar career trajectory of getting hired, getting promoted and switching jobs from time to time for better prospects. But a gig worker does not have a defined path, what does success then look like? 

From time immoral success has been defined in terms of money or ownership. But the actual definition of success is 'the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.' Everyone gets to decide what their success should look like, and gig workers need to do so as well. But several fail to do so and go down a spiral because they are always 'dissatisfied' with their position and insecure about their income, so ironic! 

Additionally, the society is yet not fully accepting of the gig economy and still stick to traditional definitions of a job for - 'Success'. Besides not everyone adheres to one gig and that is why it is so crucial to defining a path, so you aren't on the way of burn out. William Neher works for multiple apps simultaneously; he says "I don't always hustle. I'm at the point where I can make about a dollar a minute pretty easy. When the juice is worth the squeeze, I'm out there. But obviously, there's a lot of volatility in the app world. That's why I'm on so many. If the scooter thing goes under tomorrow, I can jump back into dog walks." 

Here are four ways to define success in the gig economy that will help you measure your progress: 

Customize your success 

We've moved from who owns the maximum space of land to who has the most amount of money. From time to time, society changes its metrics of success measurement and forces individuals to be bound in a particular mould of thought. But gig economy as a whole is breaking from these shackles and defining its own path. Similarly, gig workers need to determine what success means to them. It can be anything from expanding clients on a monthly basis to reaching a specific monetary target.  

Set your timelines 

Companies often have set timelines for appraisals and promotions, so everything is timed, which is not the case with gig workers. Once you place your goals, make sure to attach timelines to it, so you track your progress accordingly.  

Connect with other gig workers 

While working alone or in small groups may seem fun for a while, it is easy to fall prey to your own negative thoughts. Connecting with other gig workers gives you a chance to look at their growth as well and have a reference point. If you're always working alone, you usually think you're really behind, or you are not sure what is going on in the market. Use platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook groups to connect to other gig workers as it will give you deeper insights into the market. 

Treat yourself as an employee

Significant problems arise when gig workers see themselves as just freelancers to some companies independent of rules. They either run in extremes of no work or overload of work. This makes it challenging to define a successful path. Treating oneself as an employee makes it easy to establish goals and make sure to show up even when you don't feel like it. Detaching your work self from your personal self helps in better evaluation. 


Diane Mulcahy in her book The Gig Economy: The Complete Guide to Getting Better Work, Taking More Time Off, and Financing the Life You Want says, "For it matters not, how much we own, the cars . . . the house . . . the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash." This is something every gig worker needs to remember while choosing such an independent life, to not be bogged down by societal pressure. 

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Topics: Talent Management, #GigToBig

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