Sunday, August 20, 2023

Gigs and Jobs and Careers - Oh My!

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

“Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!” This quote, made famous by Judy Garland as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, could certainly apply to a zoo.

Or a life in business. If we change it to gigs and jobs and careers - Oh My!

What is the gig economy?

The IRS defines the gig economy as “activity where people earn income providing on-demand work, services or goods,” often through an app or website. This area of the job market consists of temporary, contract and freelance jobs.

The term “gig economy” gets thrown around most often in reference to jobs like working with a rideshare company, such as Uber or Lyft, making deliveries or walking dogs. But the gig economy spans virtually every industry and represents a large part of the workforce. A 2022 survey commissioned by Upwork found that 69 million Americans had freelanced within the previous 12 months.

What is a career vs. a job?

A career is a lifelong professional journey. The purpose of a career is to support your lifestyle while also reaching your goals and ambitions. In order to reach such goals, you may need a certain level of training, education or experience. Your career path tends to build upon itself. When first starting out in your profession, you typically have an entry-level position. As time goes on, you progress in your career, getting more advanced opportunities.

A job is something you do to earn money. It is less focused on your future achievements and more on the present moment of supporting yourself. Most jobs are short-term experiences, where you work for an hourly wage. Rather than focusing on your professional development, you're more focused on getting a specific task done.

Here are a dozen differences between jobs and careers:

Benefits: With a career, you often see full-time benefits. These may include paid-time-off, sick days, health insurance, dental coverage, retirement contributions and stock options. Jobs typically do not come with such benefits.

Hours: Those in careers tend to work a set of regular hours. Rather than clocking in and out of work, they are paid a set salary. With a job, your work tends to be more time-oriented. Your employer tends to pay you on an hourly basis. You may not have as predictable of a schedule, potentially working part-time hours.

Education: Careers tend to require more education and training than jobs do. With a career, you typically need some kind of degree or specialized skill set.

Intentions: The purpose of working a job is to earn money. Although your career is still how you support yourself, you also work toward reaching your goals and ambitions. When choosing a career, people tend to base this decision on their talents and passions.

Goals: Jobs focus on short-term goals while careers are centered around your long-term goals.

Turning one into the other: What starts off as a job can actually turn into a career. Think of your career as your long-term professional experience. Your jobs can make up a part of this experience.

Where you learn skills: While your main intent of a job is to make money, you can learn valuable skills that could translate into a career. For instance, when working as a barista, you learn how to follow directions and provide customer service. These skills are helpful for a wide variety of long-term careers.

Hierarchy: Those deeper into their careers tend to oversee people with jobs. For instance, a restaurant manager typically has a career in food and hospitality. They oversee waiters and waitresses who may not intend to turn foodservice into a career.

Types of work: Over the course of your career, you're likely to try a wide variety of responsibilities and tasks. With each individual job you have, you're likely to have fewer responsibilities compared to your entire career.

Work environments: Those with jobs vs. careers work in a variety of environments. Those with careers tend to get to know their teams better since they are in this role long-term.

Advancement: With a job, you may see a raise or promotion. This then can build into a career. As you get more experienced, you'll see even more job advancement opportunities.

Continued education: In order to progress in many careers, you need to continue your education. For example, many healthcare professionals must complete a certain amount of credits to keep their licenses.

OK, land the plane, Tom.....

Today, as of this blog, the 2023 Writers Guild of America strike has been going on for 3 months, 2 weeks, and 1 day. They say that the strike will continue on indefinitely. It surpassed 100 days, which is how long the 2007-2008 strike lasted. So, the 2023 strike is now officially the second longest WGA strike in history. The 1988 strike lasted 154 days. For the first time in over 60 years, the unions representing actors and Hollywood writers are staging a strike at the same time, protesting low pay and studios' proposals for using artificial intelligence tools in production. More than 175,000 union members are out of work until a deal is made.

The WGA demands increased minimum compensation in all areas of media, increased residuals, appropriate TV series-writing compensation from pre- to post production, increased contributions to pension and health plans, the strengthening of professional standards and the overall protections for writers, and more.

A “gig” (sometimes called a “side hustle”) is generally a short-term task, project or job that a person takes up to make extra cash. But many do gig work long term or as a main source of income. Some gig workers get paid per task or assignment. Others earn an hourly rate. The WGA is not gig work.

The folks that worked at Verizon on the BlueJeans product, no longer have jobs - with BlueJeans. They might still work at Verizon, in another product line. Or, they might go work for a competitor of BlueJeans, such as Zoom or Webex or GoTo, or Adobe, or RingCentral, or Dialpad, or...

Careers, are different. When you have a career, you are committed to an industry, to a cause, to a purpose. 

My friend Lee Cockerell is the former Executive Vice President of Operations for the Walt Disney World® Resort. “As the Senior Operating Executive for ten years Lee led a team of 40,000 Cast Members and was responsible for the operations of 20 resort hotels, 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, a shopping & entertainment village and the ESPN sports and recreation complex in addition to the ancillary operations which supported the number one vacation destination in the world.” One of Lee’s major and lasting legacies was the creation of Disney Great Leader Strategies which was used to train and develop the 7000 leaders at Walt Disney World. Lee has held various executive positions in the hospitality and entertainment business with Hilton Hotels for 8 years and the Marriott Corporation for 17 years before joining Disney in 1990 to open the Disneyland Paris project. 

Lee had a career in hospitality and entertainment. Not a gig. Not a job. A CAREER. 

When you are willing to go on strike, when you are willing to walk a picket line, protesting for 3 months, 2 weeks and 1 day to fight for your way of earning a living, I think that is the purest definition of a CAREER. You are willing to NOT work, to have the opportunity TO WORK, in your chosen profession. 

Again, when planning your professional goals, it's important to know the difference between a gig, a career and a job. Although you work different ways to earn money and support your lifestyle, the various concepts aren't quite the same. With a career, you focus much more on your professional journey and achieving your goals.

They say that "you are not your job" but I am not so sure - because when your job becomes a CAREER, and - that career is something you are willing to fight for, to sacrifice for, to walk a picket line for - I think that you are indeed your career. You become your career, you identify as your career. The Writers Guild of America, the more than 175,000 union members are out of work - by their choice - until a proper deal is made. 

The WGA writers and SAG-AFTRA actors are demanding revised residual revenue structures from streaming platforms, higher salary minimums, and strict restrictions on the industry's use of A.I. MANY unions will now face the same existential question: Will A.I. be a useful tool to elevate and enhance artistic accomplishment, or will it make their jobs obsolete? For many union members, it is not just about money, or a way to make a living. [ How will AI change medicine, law, education, transportation, retail..... etc.? ]

It sounds like this WGA / Hollywood strike is all about their LIFE. They are fighting for their lives

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