GIGGED: The End of the Job and the Future of Work

kirkus Reviews
By Kirkus

An examination of how job environment models and opportunities have evolved, mainly through the success of Uber and other gig-economy stalwarts.

Kessler, a reporter for Quartz who previously worked for Fast Company and Mashable, describes Uber’s rise to prominence in 2013 after a series of failed fledgling attempts to garner venture capitalist funding and how the unique business model changed the way people taxi. But Uber is just one example within an ever expanding network of job marketplaces eschewing the classic template of an office day job with steady hours and benefits. Though both Snapchat and Instagram emerged from this revolutionary period, Kessler focuses on on-demand business models like Uber’s, which became widely scrutinized when it classified its drivers (mostly men) as independent contractors, which “relieved the company from government-mandated employer responsibilities in most countries.” The author taps the experiences of a number of Uber drivers and satisfied members of this alternative workforce and provides a comprehensive cross section of workers and developers who have abandoned their unrealistic daily working structure to benefit from the gig economy’s flexible business models. She also charts the unique strategies of like-minded on-demand workforce marketplaces such as Mechanical Turk, Managed by Q, and Gigster, demonstrating how their successes were earned and are consistently maintained. By contrast, Kessler spotlights the negative aspects of the gig economy: pay discrepancies (e.g., Uber’s fluctuating pricing model which affected drivers’ take-home potential), personal injury risk and exposure, and lack of benefits. The author then probes how the gig economy became a hot-button discussion among politicians and world economists and policymakers. In conclusion, the author suggests that the advent of “Uberisation” has encountered a wide-ranging groundswell and its share of potholes and obstacles, and though it remains a potentially lucrative employment alternative for workers and labor innovators alike, there are still great opportunities for much-needed refinement.

A fair-minded analysis of the ever morphing worldwide labor force—an early entry in burgeoning popular literature on the gig economy.

Sarah Kessler
GIGGED: The End of the Job and the Future of Work