In today’s networked world, the Web is changing the meaning of work for many individuals. Rather than working one full-time job, people are increasingly earning their incomes from many small jobs for different clients spread across the globe. In addition to diversifying financial risk, tiny jobs enable workers to monetize skills that might not have generated income in the past.
We examine the rise of the tiny job economy below.
Digital Work Erases Barriers
In an age where an increasing percentage of work is done virtually, it is no longer necessary (or in some cases, even desirable) for someone to be in your office while performing tasks for you. A Yahoo Finance article offers an instructive example:
“Fernando Navales threw himself into the work, taking between 30 and 40 ‘gigs’ per day (often photographing restaurants for Microsoft’s (MSFT) Bing search engine). Over the past year, he has completed about 750 gigs—and this new kind of employment has changed his perceptions of the working world.”
It’s a great deal for companies, too. After all, why hire a full-time employee (or tie up an existing employee’s time) with tiny jobs that can easily and capably be done by a consumer? Websites like Gigwalk offer a system for companies to hire “tasksumers,” as they are now called, to perform miniscule tasks for modest pay.
What Kinds of Jobs?
Naturally, the types of jobs assigned through these networks tend to be quick, “one-off” tasks. Yahoo lists the following examples, which are typical of the tiny jobs being posted for completion:
- $35 to test customer service experience at a well-known store
- $4 to photograph restaurant menus
- $29 to stand in line at a restaurant and deliver food to a nearby office
No one expects to get rich from a single job, but taking on many jobs can cumulatively result in a substantial part-time or even full-time income. Tiny jobs aren’t limited to manual labor, either. Some companies, like CloudFactory, harness the same concept for data entry or technical tasks. Some websites even segment their remote workers by skill level and track record, allowing companies to have their choice of the highest-quality talent for the short-term tasks they need done.
Resume-Building For the 21st Century?
One of the less-discussed benefits of tiny jobs is the potential career boost it can provide. The most common complaint among people who lack work experience is that no one wants to hire them. But with tiny jobs, someone with a meager resume can build work experience one task at a time and weave those tasks into a narrative that makes them appealing to a traditional hiring manager.
Naturally, a resume full of menial tasks isn’t going to turn many heads, but career-minded workers can accept tiny jobs more strategically. For instance, someone who spends six months doing data analysis for various companies can piece together a resume that captures these experiences and use that to pursue a long-term role.
Conceivably, someone with a stellar track record in excelling at doing tiny jobs could even get hired full-time by one of the companies that he or she worked for. After all, most firms would rather hire someone they already have established a good working relationship with than roll the dice on new and unproven talent from outside the organization.