By Michael Gushue & CL Bledsoe
People used to have something called jobs. In that long ago time rainbows were edible — and delicious! — and a “job” provided you with a way to get the essentials of life: food, clothing, cable service, sporks, and hovershoes. This may sound like a weird science fiction premise to millennials and Generation Z, but centennials (aka people who look 100 years old to millennials/Gen. Z’ers) can vouch that it was not only true, but common. There was also something called Quisp cereal.
That’s all gone. Today, gig workers make up 115% of the workforce. This is expected to rise to 143% by Tuesday, according to researchers who don’t know how percentages work. But according to President Peachy Mint, we’re doing the bestest in the nation!
What is a gig economy? Simply put, it’s an economic trend where companies hire freelancers and independent contractors for immediate, short-term projects and tasks. The great thing about gigs is that companies don’t have to deal with those pesky, nanny-state labor laws that would require them to treat employees like human beings and provide benefits or breaks or good pay or any of that dirty, commie crap. This is because they’re not actually employees; they’re contractors, which are a little bit like robots and a little bit like termites. In a gig economy, contractors have the flexibility to determine whether they want to eat this week, or have electricity and water. This kind of decision-making ability will serve them well when the inevitable societal collapse comes.
There are many categories of gig workers, or giggers, as we like to call them. These range from freelance consultant to independent contractor, from Uber driver to Lyft driver, from carpenter/handyman to someone who locks her/himself in their closet and refuses to come out. It all depends on what type of below-poverty subsistence works best for your own personal brand.
How Do You Work As An Independent Contractor?
First, realize that by being an independent contractor you are now a company with only one employee, one owner, and one boss, and all of these are you. Sound empowering? If so, you should check out this timeshare opportunity.
One advantage of being an independent contractor is you get to dictate what your corporate culture will be like. Maybe it involves regular executive meetings in the bathtub with you and your floaty toys. Maybe it means morale boosters where pep talks mean extra large pepperoni pizzas at 10:00 am. (or pictures of pepperoni to look at while you eat your Ramen noodles without cooking them first because your gas was turned off). The point is you get to decide. Late-stage Capitalism loves giving you the illusion of choice.
It’s also important to know that you can now write off business expenses, such as panic attacks, and team building exercises that involve drinking in bed until you pass out. Of course, you have no health insurance, so drinking in bed is a smart move; it means less risk of falling down the stairs.
What Makes a Gig Good?
There are many qualities gigs share. Some of them are positive, and some should be considered crimes against humanity. We’ve talked about office culture already. Many gigs are “remote,” which means you can work from home. That way, they don’t have to supply you equipment or a desk. It also means you don’t have to conform to a dress code. That sounds like a matter of convenience, but in actuality, affording and maintaining nice clothes for a business environment can be a challenge, especially when you’re drunk. It’s much cheaper to sit on your couch in the same pair of swimming trunks (underwear long ago befouled) while pecking away at your laptop keyboard which, let’s face it, is more crumb than keyboard at this point.
With remote gigs, you also get to avoid commuting, transportation costs, and parking fees. You don’t have to deal with people, which is actually a huge plus. At least, at first. Until you look up one day and realize you haven’t gotten up from your couch for so long that your sweatpants are now bonded to the couch at a molecular level.
On the flip side, you won’t get any benefits like health insurance, retirement, a living wage, or plastic spoons that have been in the break room for who knows how many years. You’re completely expendable and really have no reason to assume you’ll be treated with any measure of respect whatsoever (remember: you’re not really a person. You’re a gigger.). Who are you going to complain to? HR? Your contract will be terminated before you even finish dialing.
This is not to say that there aren’t major drawbacks to working in a traditional office situation. Trina has been licking your sandwiches for about three months now, for example. And Greg absolutely bathes in Aquavelvet. So, it’s a mixed bag, really.
Let’s run through some examples of gigs.
There have been all sorts of independent transportation services popping up in recent years, trying to knock Big Cab off the catbird seat of being the exclusive service to offer drunk people a place to vomit on their way to more drinking. The primary benefit of driving for Lyft or Uber or one of the other freelance transportation companies is that you won’t have to deal with all the bureaucracy and paperwork of financial protection. If you get shot, there’s no Big Boss to tell you which parking lot to bleed out in, since you can’t afford to go to the emergency room.
There has been some scuttlebutt recently that this kind of gig isn’t profitable, because you have to pay for gas, and maintenance on your car, which lately has been dropping parts randomly onto the street as you drive around. The way to solve this is to supplement your fare. For example, have a small concessions stand in your front seat. Pull over halfway through the ride, put on a funny paper hat, and hawk some candies, cookies, and soft drinks. Maybe hot dogs, which you can wrap in foil and keep warm by snuggling them into crannies around your engine. Similarly, you could roast peanuts in your exhaust pipe. Who doesn’t love fresh roasted peanuts?
Another way to make ride gigging pay is to secretly record the conversations of your passengers, and then use this to blackmail them. You might have to get the ball rolling by asking some pointed questions, such as, “Hey, ever committed a felony/murder/deviant act?” or “Any tips on how to cheat on my taxes/spouse/SAT test?”
If you feel like a little more structure is your thing, you might want to turn your cab into a reality TV show. Of course, you probably can’t afford a camera crew and don’t know anyone in TV who would fund it, but that’s okay. Just have your fares sign a confidentiality agreement when they get in, and tell them it’s for a reality show, when — in reality — it’s just a car, and the cameras you keep telling them not to look at are made out of cardboard. The type of show is up to you, depending on your mood that day. If you want to make people feel dumb, you could tell them it’s a quiz show. If they answer questions right, they get to go wherever they’re trying to go. Ask them impossible questions, like what’s the square root of jello or solve for Avocados’ Constant. Then, drop them off wherever you want. (Warning: don’t do this if your passengers are zen Buddhist monks. They’re experts at answering impossible questions (because koans), and will totally smoke you.)
In any case, this is a great gig for an outgoing, people-friendly person who loves company because there’s a pretty good chance you’ll end up living in your car. So, every fare will be a house guest.
Do you like puppies? Would you like to write seventeen articles about puppies for a website no one will ever see? What if we told you you’d make upwards of about fifty bucks doing it? Intrigued? Welcome to the wonderful world of freelance writing. The allure of freelance writing is that you can get relatively large gigs from time to time that will actually allow you not to freeze to death. Of course, you’ll also have to spend most of your time hustling for gigs, and the majority you get will be hardly worth your time.
The crazy thing about being a content creator is you can easily fool people into thinking you’re big shit. Really. You can write articles for popular websites. You won’t get paid, of course, but you’ll get exposure, which is also something you will probably die of since you can’t pay your rent. But hey, maybe not being paid for content on one site will lead you to opportunities to not be paid for content on other sites. The future is truly golden.
Do you consider yourself an outdoorsy person? Do you have an open mind and are willing to believe things that logic and science have already pretty much disproved? Do you consider yourself more knowledgeable than most about scat? (The stinky kind, not the biddleybop-scattywah kind.) If so, have we got an opportunity for you!
For dozens of years, people have been trying to find Bigfoot, with no success. But those people aren’t you. There are a lot of theories about why they haven’t succeeded. Maybe Bigfoot is a pan-dimensional being (that means he lives in a kitchen cupboard). Maybe Bigfoot can teleport to get away from people easily. Maybe Bigfoot is invisible. There’s probably a Reddit somewhere with a bunch more. But if you want to be a Bigfoot hunter, you’ve got to do more than read Reddit threads. You’ve got to read Wikipedia, too, and maybe even watch some TV.
Freelance Organ Donation
There are a couple ways to approach this. The first would be selling your own organs. This can be lucrative but also finite. This is similar to selling plasma except it leaves scars. And might impact your ability to live.
The other approach is similar but with other people’s organs. Hear us out on this. Longtime readers of this blog know that we frequently promote the selling of rich people’s organs for fun and profit. Folks prefer locally sourced, organic, grass-fed organs, and we all know your Twinkie-fed ass ain’t providing those. Rich folks can afford to go to the doctor, though, which means their organs are primo.
Of course, you have to get the organs. Rich folks often live in gated communities, which don’t allow people like us in. That means you have to lure a bunch of rich people out. How to do that? How about setting up a conference on reverse racism in academia? They’ll come out in droves to talk about the struggles they’ve faced having to bear the burden of their privilege. This is important: when you make your promotional materials, you need to be sure not to include any people of color in the planning committee or let them have any kind of presence. Ideally, it should really just be a bunch of old white guys, with some young hot blondes scattered around. This will ensure two things: 1. White people won’t be afraid to come, and 2. People of color won’t show up. We’re not implying that the organs of people of color aren’t viable, just that, come on, white people deserve to have their organs harvested a lot more. People of color have had to put up with enough already. If any people of color do show up, cut them in. They’re most likely being paid less than their peers, and everybody could use a little cash.
Once you have the organs, you have to find someone to buy them. This can be as easy as tuning into the police scanner and following ambulances to the hospital.
Assassin / Contract Killer
Strictly speaking, assassins and murder-for-hire types have always been part of a gig economy, and hence ahead of the curve. Being an assassin requires a lot of skills, but you’ve played video games for years. You’re probably going to be fine.
There is always the off chance that you’ll be hired to kill a contract killer who at the same time has been hired to kill you. This may sound bad, but it’s actually a classic “meet cute” scenario, and the two of you will probably fall in love and raise a family of little assassins out in New Rochelle, or Reston.
Blockchain Cryptocurrency Developer
Haha bless your heart.
If you’re not a teenager, breaking into the babysitting economy can be tough. Make sure you shave, and wash off the Eau du Schlitz coming out of your pores.
It helps if you have some basic understanding of kids, like that they’re flammable or probably have the best drugs. One tip: never play video games for money with children. No matter how good you think you are, they’re going to beat you. And that will be really embarrassing. Trust us.
But let’s get back to the drugs. Kids have the best, we all know this. It’s crazy because what do they need to escape from? Hard day at the ball pit? Whatever the reason, it’s an opportunity too good to pass up. We’ll leave it up to you whether you want to recruit a league of Dickensian street toughs to sell drugs for you or just buy drugs and get really high all the time. Either way you go, be sure to negotiate “fridge rights” with the parents you’re babysitting for.
Believe it or not, you will often find dog walking on lists of the “10 Greatest Gig Jobs This Year.” What this means is the people who create these lists have never owned a dog and have never walked. They probably think they have legs to make sex acts more of a challenge. Then they get on their motorized scooters and speed off to humiliate some barista by demanding a caffeinated drink that doesn’t exist (“It’s called a lobsterccino. Sheesh!”).
The point here is that most people’s legs are basically vestigial appendages, atrophied and weak from lack of use. And don’t get us started on lung power. On the other hand, dogs run around all day. They run when there’s no reason — how often do you even see a cat with a machete chasing a dog? Rarely. So why do dogs run? Hell if we even know. They must like it or something, the dummies.
Still, you may be thinking, I can handle one dog. Listen, Spunky, you can’t make a living walking ONE dog. That won’t even keep you in lobsterccinos. You need to walk at least ten dogs at a time if you’re going to support your habit. That’s ten animals who are all in better shape than you. And you’ve got to keep them from running into traffic or eating a jogger. Does this mean dog walking is going to get you in shape? No, this means get used to having leg cramps 23 hours a day.
Ask yourself this: how much do I actually use my bed, couch, refrigerator, TV, closet, legs? If the answer is less than all the time, you can make money by renting these as well as your home, car, tools, or almost anything. Do you actually occupy every square inch of your apartment? You do not. Then why are you being so selfish and not renting them out for some other asshole to use? Stop hoarding your couch, Lyle! Rent it out for someone else to sleep on for once.
The downside to this, of course, is people, but since you started babysitting, you’ve got a lot of drugs to help you get through social interactions. Things are looking up.
We don’t have the space to run through all the great gigs that today’s gig economy offers giggers, but here are some real life examples of gigs that just need the perfect gigger — you:
- Squirrel temp
- Sandwich man, literally
- Henry the Human Fly
- Sin eater
- Elder gods publicist
The good news to end with is that whether you have a traditional job that pays you traditional money, or a gig where you get some magic beans, all of us are going to be replaced by machines in the next 30 years. After that, employment opportunities will be limited to court jester, wandering musician, or village idiot. Our advice is: there will always be a demand for baristas, so brush up on your lobsterccino skills.