Tina Brown, editor of The Daily Beast, recently christened today's job market as the "gig economy." Her point is that fewer people seem to have full-time jobs; instead they have contract gigs.
Being a freelancer or contract worker may actually be a practical way to survive this recession. It could also lead to new entrepreneurial vistas.
Whether it's a survival strategy or not, potential gigsters would do well to check out a recent article on the topic, "More Jobs Shifting from Full-Time to Contract." It has some great tips on how to manage the transition from W2 to 1099.
"The good news is contract work will never fully replace traditional employment," writes Larry Buhl, a freelancer. "The better news is many newly minted self-employed professionals — also called contractors, consultants, and name-the-profession-for-hire — actually prefer the freedom and variety of self-employment."
To navigate the "quasi-employee landscape of the 1099 worker," you need to be vigilant about your finances, and you need to network as much as you can. "Even when you've landed a good contract assignment, let your contacts know where you are and that you'll be available for work when the project is over," says independent career counselor La-Dana Renee Jenkins, as quoted in the article.
Becoming a freelancer remains an especially viable option for journalists, as newspapers cut staffs or perish. Sites like sologig.com, elance.com, and oDesk.com can help.
While on the subject of journalists, Jill Geisler of the Poynter Foundation has written a fantastic recommendation letter for all job-seekers within the profession: "10 Reasons You Should Hire a Journalist."
She's right on the money. Every job seeker should have such a champion.