The “gig” will never be up

The “Gig” economy has been in existence forever. Temporary work has been a godsend for people in between jobs, artists, musicians, entrepreneurs who need to make some cash for rent, food, savings or just a means to something else.

Now we have Uber and a slew of other companies in the same vertical that have transformed the transportation industry. Many drivers have made driving a true full time job for years. They have zero benefits but they are also freelancing for a variety of companies. The question that is being played out in the courts right now is should these drivers be given full-time status underneath these transportation companies umbrellas.

The best thing about the “gig” economy is hearing that a short term job to make some cash can get you from A to B. I took an UberX in LA last week and heard my drivers story. It is the thing that I love about the “gig’ economy.

He had been driving for almost a year and a half. He had achieved what he needed and was on the last few weeks of his stint. He has a 3 year old son. He put enough money away to pay for his kids future education. Not sure how that is possible but so be it. He had come to LA to go to medical school at UCLA, dropped out the day before. Realized it was not for him. He got a job as an analyst for a Hedge Fund. He worked early and was out in the early afternoon which is when he would start his driving. Over that time he also created a thesis for his own fund. After meeting with multiple family offices, six out of thirty said they were in and he was about to launch his own hedge fund. I prodded and got the info.

He dropped me off, I wished him luck and told him I loved his story. This happened the day that California passed a bill that makes all App-based companies treat workers as employees. There are too many people working for these companies with zero needed benefits or a safety net god forbid they get sick or have an accident. That is bad for everyone.

Should this young man have been covered while he was driving part-time for multiple transportation companies? I think they should be but even if those companies become something they did not want to be they have given many the cash they need to become something they want be. It might be a hedge manager for this young man but for many it is about pursuing the arts, being an actor, writing a book, saving up for a rainy-day, just paying rent while you figure it out, that is the beauty of what the “gig” economy brings.