Whether it’s to create a second act career as a consultant, to gain greater flexibility or to generate extra income in retirement, the gig economy offers both opportunities and challenges. In fact, today it’s relevant for virtually every age group and career stage. The demand for freelance talent continues to grow and it may offer new options to leverage your skills and experience. But the challenges and transition issues are real and it’s wise to be prepared. Becoming savvy about how to navigate it well will enhance your chances of success.
We talk with Diane Mulcahy, author of The Gig Economy about how it’s expanding, changing the world of work and impacting retirement. Before it was even a thing, Diane created the first course in the U.S. on the Gig Economy and teaches it in the MBA program at Babson College. The course gained immediate traction and was named by Forbes as one of the Top Ten Most Innovate Business School Courses in the country.
If you’re considering working longer or pursuing a second act career in the gig economy, you’ll want to hear Diane’s perspective on how to plan ahead.
On Planning Ahead
“I would offer two tactical steps. The first is, (and I have this exercise in my book as well) …The first is to develop an exit strategy. And what I mean by that is develop a real and concrete tactical plan for leading your job. So the exercise that I have my students and my readers do is this, imagine that you knew that you are going to be laid off in six months. What would you do to prepare? What would you do professionally? You know, what conferences would you go to? What colleagues would you reach out to? What kind of networking would you do? What kind of skills would you make sure were up-to-date on certifications, things like that? What kinds of financial things would you, do you know what? What expenses would you cut down on? What would you save?”
“How much would you contribute to your retirement? What corporate benefits would you take advantage of, whether it’s, you know, 401k contributions or education or professional development, and what would you do personally? How would you think about the impact of a layoff on your personal domestic situation? What about your living situation? Is there something there that you would change in terms of where you would rather live or what you would think about in terms of your commute or how this affects your household?
So think about that, all of those different dimensions, and make a list kind of a to-do list of what you would do if you knew you were getting laid off in six months. And then I would suggest really talking about that with other people, particularly if you know people who have been laid off or who are already retired and have negotiated that transition successfully. Find out what can you learn from how they made the transition and things that they did to make it successful.”
Before the Gig Economy was even a thing, Diane created and started to teach an MBA class called The Gig Economy at Babson College. The class gained immediate traction and was named by Forbes as one of the Top 10 Most Innovative Business School Classes in the country. Diane is an active and enthusiastic participant in the Gig Economy.
In between full-time jobs and consulting gigs in private equity and venture capital, Diane has been a Visiting Fellow at Trinity College in Dublin, an Executive-in-Residence at Babson College, and an Eisenhower Fellow. She has taken two different years off to travel around the world. Diane is currently a Senior Fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and an Adjunct Lecturer at Babson College.
She has previously written and published two books and a widely-read report on venture capital. Her work has been featured in The Economist, The Financial Times, Forbes, Fortune, Harvard Business Review, The Irish Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, as well as numerous industry publications.
Diane speaks and lectures at conferences and universities worldwide. When not working, Diane enjoys reading (mostly non-fiction), writing (only non-fiction), food (eating and cooking), wine, film, yoga, and running. Diane holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Harvard University. She is a dual EU (Irish) and US citizen. She lives in Boston with her husband Kevin.
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