Gig Arrivals: On Time, Every Time!

Gig Arrivals: On Time, Every Time!

The rise of the gig economy is sure to leave us with unapologetically authentic and fiercely confident people who will deliver with undivided commitment, irrespective of economic rainfall or sunshine.


I ran into Ajeet (name changed), an old friend, at a conference I recently, and was taken aback to hear of his decision to quit his comfortable senior corporate position to become a gig worker. Intrigued, I asked him to describe his experience. “It’s like ski-jumping”, he said. “I wait on the hill and visually navigate the slope to decide when and how I am going to jump. Then after taking a deep breath, I fly off in the air before my perfect landing down the slope. It’s about getting better each time, and the outcome is all about the decision-makers choosing me over the others.” The life of a gig worker is just as exciting. This got me thinking about the arrival of the gig economy and how it has drastically changed the paradigm around employment.


The rise of the gig economy


I realized that Ajeet is one among the 15 million freelancers in India[1] who have stepped out of their comfort zones and attempted to take what I often refer to as “The Leap of Faith”.


Transitioning from receiving a salary at the end of the month to taking efforts to get work and then more effort to get paid for your services is not an easy choice to make. Yet, we see the shift progressing rapidly, sometimes even breaking the popular myth that Gen X prefers to stay with comfortable day jobs.


What is it that is driving this change?


I think the axiom, “Necessity is the mother of invention”, has led the gig worker to find ways to navigate through these challenges. As my friend Ajeet talked about “visually navigating the slope”, the gig workers of today have learnt to navigate the market dynamics and are aware of the need for continuous self-development. After such navigation, they take the leap of faith, and their expertise in delivery gives them the above-mentioned “smooth landing down the slope” which results in more work coming their way. This highlights the biggest change in perspective— where does the accountability of skill development lie? In the conventional employment scenario, it lies with the employer while in the times of gig economy, it shifts to the worker!


A recent article in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) based on an in-depth study of gig workers reveals startling findings[2], some which are summarized below:


 All of the surveyed gig workers cherished their independence, despite perceived personal, social, and economic anxieties without the protection and support of a conventional employer. Although concerns about unpredictable work patterns and financial pressures loomed upon them, they felt they had gathered more courage and led more enriched lives than their corporate peers.


 Gig workers found themselves free from adhering to authority figures and corporate norms, and picked assignments that best represented their true interests. It is this accountability that is one of the main drivers of their improved productivity.


 A gig worker works more by choice than by need. Majority of those surveyed agreed that they experienced a higher level of mental space and strength than in conventional employment. In my own experience, Ajeet, my friend, who compared himself to a ski-jumper, revealed that he was a lot more successful professionally and comfortable in his identity personally than ever before. He could think of himself as a pioneer of sorts who does not have to conform to the requirements of any organization and had the courage to stand by his conviction.


The Balancing Act


If gig working is like ski-jumping, the safety gear for a gig worker would include a strong sense of direction, connection with the right people, strategic visibility, and dynamic adaptability. As outlined in the aforementioned HBR report, successful gig workers are driven by what they are meant to do. That builds remarkable resilience, and conviction to turn down work opportunities when they are not the right fit. Undoubtedly, adjusting your sails yourself sets you sailing in the right direction.


An independent worker is prone to run into social isolation due to not having work colleagues. That’s akin to losing a safety gear. Though many avoid formal peer groups which they might see as competition, they do have connections with role models and influencers.


Gig workers have also realized the importance of strategically maintaining visibility through a balance between relevance and resourcefulness.


Irrespective of the age or the generation, gig workers have learnt the art of staying visible on media platforms that are relevant to the times. The advent and ease of digital media have propelled the older generation to keep themselves abreast of technology


Growing all the way


By efficiently activating the ‘safety gear’ in the right direction, today’s gig workers have emerged as resilient and confident contributors to the economy who can help turn around businesses by their creative productivity. The rise of the gig economy is sure to leave us with unapologetically authentic and fiercely confident people who will deliver with undivided commitment irrespective of economic rainfall or sunshine.


[1] The 4 Things You Need to Thrive in the Gig Economy. (2018). Retrieved from

[2] The freelance army: Why many Indians are choosing part-time over full-time (2018). Retrieved from

Harini Sreenivasan is a maverick CHRO with multi-geography experience, a leadership coach, a Design Thinking practitioner, a Transactional Analyst and Behavior Analyst. She is an eternal optimist with a passion for helping people awaken their entrepreneurial spirit. A workaholic by nature, Harini balances her wakeful hours between work and student interaction. Currently, she is Affiliate Partner with Ricardo Semler’s Semcostyle Institute India, Chief Mentor – HR at Intelliswift Inc, and Advisor to the Board at Caere India Ltd.


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