Podcast: How to succeed in the gig world

August 15, 2018

On “Work and Life With Stew Friedman,” Professor Sue Ashford discusses effective strategies for thriving in the new economy

Susan J. Ashford

Susan J. Ashford

Experts call it the new “gig economy,” where short-time, freelance jobs are becoming more popular and in demand compared to permanent employment. In a recent episode of the podcast “Work and Life with Stew Friedman,” Michigan Ross Professor Sue Ashford discusses some lessons learned from her research on the subject.

Overall, gig workers experience “more highs, more lows, and more oscillations between highs and lows” than people in traditional job situations, Ashford notes in the podcast.

“You have a lot of freedom,” Ashford says of gig workers. “But that freedom puts you more in this precarious situation. You get to make all the choices, but if you screw it up, you could fail, so there’s more anxiety around those choices … You are the captain of your ship.”

Ashford discusses four effective coping mechanisms used by gig workers in her research: connecting to other people, connecting to a place, establishing a routine, and finding a purpose.

Overall, she says, each individual has to figure out how to make it work for them: “It’s going to be idiosyncratic, and that’s what’s both weird and wonderful about this world.”

Ashford also addresses some other subjects on the podcast, including how to grow as a leader and why it’s important to seek feedback from others.

Sue Ashford is the Michael & Susan Jandernoa Professor of Management and Organizations and the Chair of Management & Organizations at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. She is also a Faculty Associate at the Center for Positive Organizations.

This story was originally published as a Ross Thought in Action article.