There are many downsides to the emergence of the gig economy, I was thinking, as my Uber driver cruised into Melbourne Airport, telling me how he was in fact a forklift operator who had to move to two days a week in his day job because the work was doing damage to his left shoulder. I was thinking about it again when I burned my finger on the boot catch of the car that was pulling away with my luggage still on board (it was his first day, and he was nervous as).
As I sucked my finger and looked around the majesty of Perth’s CBD, I reflected on what it would be like to move to the world’s most isolated capital. In the past, I imagine it would’ve been far more of a gamble than it is today. Lining up work in advance or rolling the dice that Alan Bond has a position for you on arrival.
But now, all you need is Uber accreditation (or Ola, or Deliveroo, or Upwork, or…) and the Google Maps app. Roll into town and start finding customers to pitch. It’s not stable but, at worst, it’s a workable safety net when you’re between trapezes. This is low-level thinking, of course, but the same applies for fancypants sole traders like me and anyone who works for an organisation developed enough to support employees in their dream to telecommute while eyeballing quokkas on Rottnest Island.
That’s the dream, right?
It’s also handy if you have a horrific break-up or make a powerful enemy at the local pub. Drive down to Melbourne and start fresh. A new life, a new star rating…
We’ve built a world where everyone can be in contact at all times, and one of the results of that is the ability to picture yourself establishing a whole new life in whichever destination you touch down in. I’ve idly plotted bohemian existences in… oh, everywhere from Lisbon to Te Anau.
But of course, they don’t happen. Because I own too much stuff and hate packing.