Profile of a gig worker - Mark Isaacs
Gig work isn’t new, in fact you probably know somebody already who is a gig worker. Gig work can take many forms – some people take on concurrent part-time roles to add up to a full-time income, some work short-term contracts, moving on when their contract ends. For Geelong Region LLEN Project Officer, Mark Isaacs, gig work offers him the opportunity to work three part-time roles, and to make a living following his passions. In his role for the LLEN, Mark is part of our Structured Workplace Learning team, where he liaises with local employers to offer ‘on the job’ experiences for students completing VET or VCAL. Mark is passionate about helping young people get that all-important ‘foothold’ in the labour market, and his work with the LLEN draws on his vast experience in the Apprenticeship and Trainee sector. Mark refers to this as his ‘day job’, which he usually completes between 9am and 2pm each day, giving him the chance to communicate with colleagues and clients during business hours.
Mark is also passionate about cycling, and this is where being a gig worker has enabled him to follow his passions, and still make a living. Mark works as a General Manager for a cycling team, and as a Rider Agent/Manager. As most of his staff and athletes are based in Europe, he can work these roles ‘after hours’, so they don’t interfere with his work for the LLEN. Although this means Mark doesn’t work a typical 9am-5pm workday, because he’s working on something he has a passion for, it doesn’t pose too much of a problem for him.
Being a gig worker allows Mark the freedom and flexibility to follow his passions for cycling, and for helping young people transition into the workforce. And because his three roles rarely overlap, he can usually focus completely on whatever job he is currently working on. As his two cycling roles are complementary, he can quite often ‘tick a number of boxes at once’.
Gig work is not without its challenges, though. Uncertainty with income can be a challenge – if one role ends, then the income that goes along with it also ends. Making up a full-time income from multiple part-time and contract roles can be quite challenging for anyone working in the gig economy. Then again, working in one full-time role can mean total loss of income if that role ends, so there are advantages and disadvantages on both sides of the coin. There are also tax implications – he can only claim the tax free threshold for one of his three roles. Occasionally, his three jobs overlap, and Mark finds his attention drawn from where it should be, into one of his other roles. This requires making sure that whatever time is taken away from one role is ‘paid back’ at some point. All three of his ‘gigs’ come back to one theme – helping young people achieve, whether that be in the workforce or in athletics. Mark probably best sums up the advantages to him of gig working when he says: “It allows me to pursue a passion that I would otherwise not be able to justify financially. I get to work with young people and help them make a start in their career - be it workforce or athletic”
If you’re interesting in finding out more about the gig economy, come along to our event on 16th August, where we will explore different perspectives on participating in the gig economy, and hear from people who are currently navigating this way of working.
Tickets through Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/the-gig-economy-tickets-34738689355