lifetime commitment, while a gig was
the opposite of it.
Lifetime jobs have now almost com-
pletely disappeared, and the techno-
logical revolution we are experiencing
has created new opportunities for jobs.
A key difference exists between the gig
job of the 1950s and the gig jobs of today.
Kerouac and his contemporaries turned
their jobs into gigs, when they refused to
accept the commitments, expectations,
and identities that usually came with
those jobs. The jobs of today are struc-
turally uncommitted, free of expecta-
tions, and undefined. While a 1950s
hipster would explain that his or her job
was just a gig, a hipster today who drives
for Uber would not need utter such state-
ments. The jobs that Airbnb, TaskRab-
bit, and other technological companies
are creating are gigs by default.
Emphasizing that gig jobs are a
structural aspect of the contemporary
economic landscape allows us to better
see the unique challenges created by gig
jobs. Although gig jobs are structurally
precarious, the key issue is our legal and
policy environment is not set up to reg-
ulate these new types of occupations.
Therefore the question should not be
how to turn gig jobs into stable jobs, but
rather how to create a minimum level of
legal protections that make it possible
to have multiple gig jobs.
Among the many protections that
we see relevant, we identify three of
1. Provide training. While gig jobs
may be perceived as not requiring any
skills, this is a gross simplification. As
many of us have directly experienced,
there are key differences between good
and not so good hosts in Airbnb; everyone can distinguish a good Uber driver
from a bad one. The skills necessary for
these jobs are not taught formally anywhere, at least not yet, but they make a
real difference. Private companies can