Unexpected Conclusions

Researching the gig economy throughout this summer has been far more enlightening and enriching than I could have ever expected.  My data and literature analysis and interviews led to numerous unexpected conclusions.  One of the findings I was most intrigued by was how far the impact of the gig economy reaches outside of its thriving core in metropolitan areas.  The proliferation of technology to developing countries and the disparity between currency exchange rates continue to create an opportunity for creating connections between employers in developed countries and skilled employees in developing countries.  The portion of the gig economy that is entirely digital makes in-demand and on-demand work accessible to so many more individuals than typical non-contingent jobs.

Another interesting and unexpected finding was how much I could empathize with my interview subjects.  Although I have always worked non-gig jobs and internships, I have been doing some freelance accounting work this summer.  In this capacity I was able to relate to gig workers in a way that I had not anticipated.  Because I was conducting research this summer, I was unable to pursue a full-time internship as I have every other summer during my time at university.  Having the flexibility to complete the freelance work from home and being able to work around my research schedule was a considerable asset.  I saw first-hand the perspective of one of my Etsy interviewees, a fellow college student who enjoyed the supplemental income she obtained from selling crafts in her spare time while working towards her degree.

Finally, I was fascinated that so many gig workers entered the industry after taking time off or quitting their previous occupations for personal reasons.  While the gig worker is commonly perceived as someone trying to make some extra cash, the reason behind why they are seeking income from gigs is often much more illuminating.  More than ever before, laborers that are unsatisfied with their careers or wanting to take time to see the world and figure out the next step are comfortable and able to do so by utilizing the gig economy to support themselves during the transition.

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