Living and sharing in the gig economy

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Sharing, a meaningful gesture
Photo credits: Ben Grey (Flikr)

The permanent job contract is losing out. Over the last ten years there was a steady drop of people with a permanent job contract across the population and this trend will probably continue in the coming decade. A “job for life” seems even more “so last century”. People are much more willing to seek fulfilling jobs, move on to new places, and combine different jobs according to their interests and lifestyles. When work is more like a gig, what will this new economy look like in ten years?

Freelancers are the fastest growing sector in the economy and this may not be a temporary situation. Freelancers create their own plan. Indeed, they are flying solo. They have to create their social support network and they need to organize everything that is part of regular job benefits: compensation for sick leave, maternity leave, pension and more. However, it’s not only the freelancers who are pioneering. In the future, everyone is in “startup mode”, self-inventing and reinventing to follow their passions.

Instead of fulltime jobs, there are loads of opportunities to be economically successful. You can be a hotelier by providing your house or rooms on Airbnb and various other couch surfing websites. You can sell the stuff you make at home, will it be furniture, children’s clothes or birthday cakes.

Saving money by using your network cleverly is another great thing to do. If you need tools or other stuff that you rarely use, then find a neighbor to borrow it from on Peerby and other sites. By systems like time banking you can bring in your skills to others and get others to do things for you. If you are great in building websites, while you need someone to do photography, video editing or something completely different, then you can bring your time in the bank and get time from others in exchange.

The possibilities of do-it-yourself are also endless. Grow your own food, instead of buying in and share the harvest with your network. 3D printing will provide a world full of new opportunities, such as using old toys as material to print new toys for kids when they have outgrown their old toys.

All these growing niches of opportunities are showing a new kind of economy in the making. A gig economy where people are used to exploring different ways of getting what they need. And it’s not only bringing materialistic benefits. The essence of this new lifestyle is that you need others to keep you going. So plenty of spontaneous encounters and meaningful relationships are an indirect benefit of this new economy. And that is absolutely priceless!

About Freija Van Duijne

Twitter: @FreijavanDuijne Futuring is my passion. I am fascinated about what the future might bring. Always looking around for leads about the future and open for new insights. I am futurist, trendwatchter and strategist at the The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, a thinktank in the Netherlands. My background is in Human factors psychology. I did my Masters at Leiden University and I did a PhD in Delft University at the faculty of Industrial design engineering. I have been involved in foresight studies since 2006. I am frequently asked as an expert for future studies in area of food, natural resources, health and governance. I am also a speaker and workshop facilitator on futures studies, trend presentations and the many topics that I blog about. My contributions to Futuristablog represent my own personal opinion and is never a statement of the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
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