Gig Economy Journals - A day in their shoes - David Robinson, Web Developer
What is 'gig economy' working really like and what are the opportunities and challenges for gig workers? This is part two in our series commissioned by the CIPD to study the lives of gig economy workers. It features David, a web developer. You can read the whole piece over on the CIPD website, but here's a snippet.
I’m David Robinson
I'm a web developer
"I find all my work through a service called People Per Hour. I work exclusively with WordPress, which involves building full websites from scratch, fixing problems for people on their website, or adding new functionalities to their website.
I’m self-employed – I kind of bounce between words: self-employed, freelancer, consultant – but self-employed is the most accurate one. I wasn’t familiar with the term 'gig economy', so don’t consider myself part of it. A lot of what I do is no different from working face-to-face – only the form of communication is different."
"The broad spectrum of things that I do, along with good pay, gives me the freedom to do stuff. I can plan my days creatively, so I can choose to go off climbing or meet with friends, or I can do stuff on the weekends if I want to. When I don't have to work, sometimes that makes me feel like I want to work, and it's nice to feel like that. I learn stuff in an informal way, through Google, reading stuff, and playing with new plug-ins and code. I do a bit of paid work at the weekends as well. It's freedom – freedom is a big thing, not having to work for someone else. I work well with people, but I'm done with that."
Thank you for your input human number 75/A
"People Per Hour was quite new when I started, so I’ve grown as they've grown. Generally, every decision they make is not in my interest, but in theirs. It’s never too bad, nothing that's put me off working with them completely. Generally I'll voice my concern about a change they make on the site, or a change to their charges, or something that’s not working that should be working. But that’s still quite rare. I think I voice my concerns to make myself feel better, but there is never any response. If there is a response, it’s super generic: ‘Thank you for your input human number 75/A.'"
"If I were to say something was missing from my work, I think it’s working directly with people. I work well on my own and I’m happy to spend time with myself. I tried working in a shared office before – I thought it was the thing you were supposed to do. When I was in one of these co-working spaces, I wondered if there was something wrong with me, because everybody else comes in everyday and loves it, networking with friends. I thought I just don’t like the space; it doesn’t work for me. I did it for two weeks and stopped.
I make sure I’m very social outside of work, so I’m not wanting in that respect. Networking-wise, because I work on People Per Hour, I don’t really need the networking aspect. For me, it just felt like a way to make myself less efficient by having people around and noise, hearing other people having phone conversations and stuff, and paying for that as well.
Is anything missing from my life? I don’t know, my life’s pretty sorted.
You know you do those circles of your life, where you have family, friends, sex, work, finances, and so on. If I look at them at the moment, they are all really good. Maybe a bit more creativity. Comedy improvisation covers that, but maybe there could be something else as well that brings me alive a bit more. But apart from that, it’s pretty sweet."