With the advent of apps and the introduction of the “gig” economy, less and less people are seeking “normal” jobs. What is a normal job? For the purpose of this article, let’s assume a normal job to be a scheduled, 40-hour a week job with the same employer. “Scheduled” is perhaps the most important part of that definition. We wouldn’t consider working for Lyft or Uber a normal job here. That would be a gig. Working 40 hours a week at Whole Foods, that’s what I mean when I say “normal.”
Many people have switched away from normal jobs to gigs precisely because of that word, scheduled. They don’t want it. They want flexibility. They want to work for as little or long as they want, when they want. They also like the money that comes along with a lot of these jobs. There’s countless stories out there of Uber drivers making very comfortable wages.
So why would anyone these days want a normal job when you can make good money and have a flexible schedule working gigs? Here’s some reasons why a normal job isn’t so bad:
1.Stability: For some, flexibility sounds great. But in practice, it’s stressful. Managing your time and being your own boss can be extremely difficult. Those who want more stability like knowing that each day they show up to a certain place, at a certain time. They know how many hours of work each week they are guaranteed and how much money they will make. Those who like stability like normal jobs.
2.Normal hours: Normal jobs often have normal hours. The term “9-5” has been synonymous with a drab job (think Office Space). But working those hours allows you to be with friends and family when you’re not working. If you’re working a gig, say for Uber, the busiest times are often before 9am or after 5pm. It’s also busiest on weekends. This means if you really want to make the most money working for Uber, you have to be working when the rest of your friends and family are off work. Again, a 9-5 may seem boring, but it’s nice to have those hours off when you want to be with your friends and family.
3.Comradery: Often times, people say they love their jobs because they love the people they work with. Unfortunately, most jobs in the gig economy can be pretty solo. Lyft and Uber drivers only really see each other on the road or when they’re grabbing coffee. There’s little time when drivers can come together to discuss their job and how things are going. A more normal work environment allows you to work alongside other co-workers, talk with them, learn from them, and enjoy in a shared experience together. We are social beings and many of us need comradery. Work is where we spend so much of our time and if we spend it alone, we are missing out on a huge part of the job experience.
4.Career Building: In a normal job, there are often ways to grow your career. You may start off as receptionist, move up to waiter, and one day become general manager of the entire restaurant. That’s career building. A gig rarely offers that kind of upward mobility. If you’re a good Lyft driver, you will stay a good Lyft driver. You won’t get a raise, you’ll just keep making the same amount of money, doing the same exact job.
5.Having both: The great part about having a normal job is that you can have a few gigs on the side as well. In fact, having side projects or other gigs often makes your normal job a little more exciting. A lot of people are able to take lower paying jobs these days, that may be less stressful or something they’re more passionate about, and subsidize that with working a gig on the side. That can give you the best of both worlds. Working in a job you love, while having enough money to live the life you want to live.
So the next time you watch Office Space or hear about the downsides to a 9-5, take a second to seriously consider what type of work is best for you. Sometimes working a normal job really isn’t so bad.
Also published on Medium.