In “Gigged: The End of the Job and the Future of Work,” Sarah Kessler provides an astute and comprehensive exploration into the gig economy, a phenomenon that has transformed the traditional employment landscape. The book delves into the lives of various gig workers—ranging from Uber drivers to freelancers on platforms like Upwork—to present a vivid tapestry of their experiences, aspirations, and challenges. Kessler weaves together real-life narratives with extensive research, thereby offering a holistic understanding of what the gig economy means for American workers.
One of the most compelling aspects of “Gigged” is its objectivity. Kessler neither romanticizes the gig economy as the liberator of the modern worker nor condemns it as an exploitative system designed to undermine worker rights. Instead, she paints a nuanced portrait, detailing both the opportunities for flexibility and self-determination and the insecurities that come from the absence of traditional job benefits like health insurance, retirement plans, and job security. Her balanced perspective is refreshing in the midst of often polarized debates surrounding this topic.
Kessler’s writing is engaging, imbued with a journalistic flair that makes complex economic theories and labor laws easily digestible. She incorporates real stories of workers to humanize what could otherwise be a dry analysis. You meet individuals who have wholeheartedly embraced the gig economy and have thrived, but you also encounter those for whom the instability and lack of benefits have led to disillusionment and hardship.
However, the book doesn’t just stop at presenting problems; it also probes potential solutions, exploring initiatives that aim to provide gig workers with benefits and protections. While Kessler doesn’t offer a single prescription for fixing the issues inherent in this new work paradigm, she presents enough evidence and perspectives to stimulate informed discussions.
Overall, “Gigged” is a well-crafted, insightful book that serves as both a guide and a warning about the rapidly evolving world of work. Whether you’re a policy-maker, a gig worker, or simply someone interested in understanding the shifting dynamics of employment, this book is a must-read.