Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Peaks and Valleys: The Gig Economy Can Eat You Alive



The Gig Economy can rip your heart out.

January you have so much work you don't know if you can do it all, and February you have one gig and it was a 'take it because I need something' type of show.

March and April are a wasteland, and then May turns out all right just in time to deal with the desert of June and the pittance of July.

Sometimes you go through years with lots of work before you hit a slump that lasts eleven months.

I am king of the world!!!
You could struggle for years and one day become the cat who fell into a vat of cream.

There is no predicting it

Anybody who has been part of the Gig Economy knows that sometimes you are flying so high you can't see the ground, and sometimes you are feeling so low you have to look up to see the dirt.

When you are flying, sometimes it feels like you will never land. It is all horizon.

This guy is a forensic botanist. I didn't even know that was an option!







When you are crawling low, you wonder why you didn't do the sensible thing and become a botanist. Botanists have good health plans, steady work, and their paychecks don't fluctuate wildly depending on the fundraising efforts of an enthusiastic eight-year-olds selling candy bars.





Nobody needs advice about flying high except to make sure you have a good parachute handy, because at some point you will need it.


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Parachute:

1. Save what you can while you can.

2. Support people who need help. You are definitely going to need to ask for something at some point!

3. Pay your advice forward to people who need a hand with whatever you are mastering at the moment. It will come back to you when you need it.

4. Create community with others in the gig world, they can help you get through the slow times.

5. Make sure you are not spending your wish or if come!


Unfortunately, when you hit a valley, everybody has advice and all of it makes you feel like a failure or that you are somehow not working hard enough. What you really need is a life preserver.


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Life Preserver:

1. Don't be afraid to ask for help or talk to others about what is happening. You will find that lots of artists are not only sympathetic: they will feed you.

2. Don't let the downturn stop you from improving your art! Work on that novel; read some new anthologies; paint: knit; institute a rigorous workout schedule; learn Spanish....in other words, accomplish something. It will make you feel better and when it is over, you will have a new skill or a new love or a smaller waistline.

3. DON'T STOP MARKETING!

4. Visit a relative who will feed you and pamper you. Pampering is good when you feel low.

5. Tap into the community of artists around you. There is gold to be mined and it might help you look at things in a different light.

6. Whatever you do, DON'T ISOLATE.  That way lies depression. Even introverts need a little reach out in these times.

Good luck on this wild trip!


Happy Telling!

5 comments:

  1. Amen. I'm heading into a sparse season and this reminder was most welcome. Thanks!

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  2. Don't stop marketing is the most important piece here. EVERY day I am not performing I start by reaching out for a new gig or pinning down a few that are still in the wind.

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  3. What great advice! I wonder if you've gotten signed up with wake arts council for artist in the schools gigs. They pay better than most. Also chatham has a regular program now. See you in writers group!

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