Second Chances: Few, If Any

With a third of the American workforce now a part of the Gig Economy, today’s high school students (that would be YOU!) will need to have the following skills and be able to use them in a variety of ways to make a living.

  • Be Literate
    Get the academic knowledge you need to write perfectly, read and understand English, speak well, and market yourself appropriately. Communications is key.
  • Get Smart
    Learn everything you can related to the field that interests you. If, for example, you want to be a Registered Nurse, focus on Biology and related elective courses such as Histology, Physiology, the physical sciences, and whatever else your high school may offer. If you don’t reach your goal of being a nurse, you can use what you’ve learned to get a two-year degree in many related fields.
  • Learn the Math
    Just about every business person needs to be able to ‘Do the Math.’ Math will help you build and follow a business budget and allow you to ‘cost out’ or price a job contract with accuracy. If you are a ‘Gig’ worker, you will have to know how to include all your expenses (including health care insurance, retirement savings, materials, and supplies) in whatever cost you give a client. You will also have to monitor you tax deductions and health insurance costs; just two things among many other key financial issues. Of course, careers that require a strong understanding of Mathematics usually offer very high salaries.
  • Know Related Content
    If you want to be a poet, you need to learn the language. But you also need to know Mathematics, so you can figure out how to put together a budget that covers all your costs. You may also need to delve into social studies fields so you can understand the rules around copyright issues and other pertinent topics.
  • Be Careful
    At least in the beginning of your career, accept only jobs that match your skills, and if necessary, pay someone to review your product before turning it in. A gig workers’ success will stand on his or her reputation. Live up to every commitment you make but give yourself a break. For example, if you think you can get something done in three weeks, tell your client it will take four weeks, just to give yourself enough time. With every job you get, make sure you under-promise and over-deliver.
  1. Be Magnanimous
    When in doubt, make sure you give the customer what he or she wants, especially when you are just breaking into business.
    Better that you ‘give in’ when a customer complains — at least in the beginning of your career — so you don’t accumulate a lot of negative reviews that might cause you to lose your job, your next contract, or your business.