The other day I was having a coffee with a friend and I had just asked her about what she is currently working on. Among what she answered was:
”I just did a talk about the gig economy.”
Never having heard the expression before, I asked her to explain.
”A gig economy is an economy where temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements.”
”Ha, that’s exactly what I’m doing!” was my swift reply.
So part of what I am being is defined by this reality as being a gig economist. Finally a definition with the word ”economist” in it that I can relate to :) I was always very reluctant to describing myself as ”an economist”; I could simply not see how my master degree in business economy would make me ”an economist”. And yet, I used to like to define myself A LOT up until recently (around the time when I started acting as a gig economist).
Looking back, I know that a big part of making it important to define myself as the one or other thing was about BEING SOMEONE. I very much connected DOING with BEING. I still do so at times, however today I know that who I am being is not connected to what I am doing. I remember how important I made the fact that I was the DIRECTOR of an organization some years ago, especially in the beginning. I remember being very cautious about presenting myself as ”I am Johanna Skantze, the DIRECTOR of Generator Sverige”. I could say that this is quite an embarrassing thing to share, however I also know that choosing to make it important to define myself as a director back then was something I did based on the consciousness and the knowing I had access to at that time; I had simply learnt that role and position was important and had so far never questioned it. Today I have access to a consciousness and a knowing that enables me to make a different choice. The choice of being undefined.
What does being undefined mean to me? It means to constantly and consciously let go of the definitions of this reality. The definitions of myself and who I am, the definitions of people by their work titles, the definitions about what is "right" and "wrong", "good" and "bad", the definitions of society, … I could go on forever. Am I saying that I do not have any definitions of anything? No, I am not saying that. Not there yet. What I am saying is that right now my focus is on letting go of definitions, freeing myself of them. Because the more definitions I let go of, the freer I become and the less prone I am to allow anyone else to have an unwanted impact on my life and my choices.
Going back to being a ”gig economist”. Since about two years I have chosen to do a lot of different things to earn money and to grow. I run an innovation consultancy together with two friends, I coach people, I sometimes help a graphic design agency with their sales and wintertime I work as a ski instructor in the Swiss alps. The last two summers I ran a small log cabin village, this year I freelance at an event agency and also. In addition to that, I jump in to help out where needed, be it at the local golf club or at a nearby restaurant during high season.
”There is no red thread in what you are doing.” some would argue.
Or, ”What about your CAREER?”.
What I know is this: it is a real GIFT to approach work in this way. I meet people I would never ever have met had I chosen to keep on doing the career thing. The last years I have met some really great people who are now among my closest friends. I get insight into a number of industries and numerous different kinds of work. I increase my knowledge and strengthen my knowing about how irrelevant it is to define oneself based on what one is doing. It has also gifted me with a greater empathy; I know what it is like to clean toilets on a daily basis so I don’t just take it for granted that toilets are cleaned and I don't regard myself as more important than them. I have gratitude for the people who do it. Approaching work in this way is also a gift in the sense that I very rarely get bored. And the greatest gift of all is the freedom connected to it.
So, yes I am a gig economist and no I am not a gig economist. I choose to be undefined.