Thriving in the Gig Economy

by Gianpiero Petriglieri, Susan Ashford, and Amy Wrzesniewski

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN ON a trapeze?” That’s how Martha, an independent consultant, responded when we asked her to describe her work in the five years since she’d left a global consulting firm to set out on her own. She had recently tried the art, which she saw as a good metaphor for her life: the void she felt when between assignments; the exhilaration of landing the next engagement; the discipline, concentration, and grace that mastering her profession required. Trapeze artists seem to take huge risks, she explained, but a safety system—including nets, equipment, and fellow performers—supports them: “They appear to be on their own, but they’re not.”

Martha ...

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