How to Choose Between Gig and Full-Time Work

How to Choose Between Gig and Full-Time Work

The rise of the gig economy in recent years has led to a transition in the types of work that are available to people. There are an increasing number of people that are realizing that their career choice doesn't have to be a typical 9-to-5 job working in an office. Instead, they can work on their own hours, pursue their passions, and make good money by being a gig worker.

There are some downsides too, however, which leads to this comparison between gig work and full-time work. What are the similarities? What are the differences? Let's dive into how the two types of work compare, and how you can make the career choice that is right for you.

Defining Gig and Full-Time Workers

Full-Time Worker

A full-time worker is an employee of a company that works the number of hours a week that an organization considers full-time. An employee will usually have a fixed schedule, but these hours can be completed at different times of the day depending on the job. For example, an accountant may work Monday to Friday from 9-to-5 every day while a nurse may work a mixture of day and night shifts to fulfill their hours.

Gig Worker

A gig worker is an independent contractor or freelancer who will usually undertake short-term work for multiple clients. They are considered non-employees and they have flexibility in their working arrangements. Some of the largest companies operating in the gig economy include Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and Instacart.

The Pros of Each

Let's look at 5 benefits of being either a full-time worker or a gig worker:

Full-Time Worker

  1. Steady Income

    Most full-time workers will have a fixed salary that will be paid weekly, biweekly, or monthly by their employer. Having a consistent income can help you budget your money effectively as you will receive the same amount of money for the same hours worked every month.

  2. Insurance Benefits

    Most employers will offer insurance plans either paid in full or at a discount depending on the organization. Health, dental, and life insurance are some of the plans that organizations can help you cover.

  3. Retirement Plans

    Some organizations will match a percentage of an employee's contributions to their retirement plan. This will obviously be a great help in your future, and you can also transfer the funds over to your next job's retirement plan.

  4. Paid Time Off

    Another employee benefit of being a full-time worker is that you are usually assigned a specific amount of paid time off. You can use these days for vacations or sick leave.

  5. Fixed schedule

    Having a fixed schedule means that you can easily plan around it. It gives you stability in your work routine and you will know what to expect each week.

Gig Worker

  1. Customers Come to You

    In many gig economy jobs, you will already have a pre-existing market that you can utilize. You simply have to provide the service and let potential clients know you are available.

  2. Choose Your Own Work Environment

    In many types of work in the gig economy, you can choose how relaxed your work environment will be. From wearing casual clothes to relocating to a new country, the opportunity to try something new is available for gig workers.

  3. Freedom to Say 'No'

    Gig workers can turn down clients if they don't want to work with them. They can also set their own rates and be their own boss.

  4. Easy To Access

    Many jobs in the gig economy have a low barrier of entry with few skills required. Background checks may be required in some circumstances, however.

  5. Flexible schedule

    Gig workers can usually set their own schedule for the days, weeks, months, and even years. As long as there is work available to them, they can choose when to work at any time.

The Cons of Each

Many of the cons of being a full-time worker or being a gig worker depend on your career choice and what you want from your work. What may be a pro for a full-time worker may be a con for a gig worker. With this in mind, let's compare the negative aspects of both types of work.

Full-Time Worker

  1. Can Become Stagnant

    Working for the same company, with the same routine can make your work life monotonous. If this is your career choice, you should spend time enhancing your career skills and challenging yourself to avoid stagnation.

  2. More Tasks = More Stress

    Work-related stress can occur due to several reasons including handling more tasks simultaneously. If you end up in this position, try to prioritize the most important task and finish what needs to be completed first.

  3. Less Versatility

    If you only work one full-time job, it may lead you to a dead-end experience-wise. Try extracurricular activities such as volunteering to increase your experience in other areas.

Gig Worker

  1. Can Be Unreliable

    Some gig workers will have no guarantee that they will have any opportunities or clients. Financial insecurity is a real worry in these situations, as you have no confirmation of when you will receive that next paycheck.

  2. Lack of Insurance Benefits

    Gig workers will typically have to cover all their insurance plans by themselves, with no support from an employer. This includes current plans such as health insurance and future investments such as a retirement plan.

  3. No Incentives

    More often than not, a gig worker won't receive any bonuses or loyalty rewards. There is also no paid time off for gig workers, which means they will have no income during their break period.

Gig Worker or Full-Time Worker?

Now you've seen the pros and cons, it's time to weigh them up and see what types of job interest you. Consider what you want in your life now and what you want in the future when making your decision. Your next career choice is waiting for you.

Written by Career Specialist Jan 26, 2023
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