Some of you may remember a time where a person would go to work at their job and after eight hours, they might go home, have dinner, spend time with their spouse or children or maybe they would go bowling with their bowling team or go to a mid-week church dinner and program.
This was the type of schedule that I observed with working adults during the 1960’s. I knew a lot of families that lived their lives predictably separating their work time from their leisure and family time.
Well, a lot has changed in the last 50 years. No longer do you see a lot of institutions i.e. government, corporate , etc. offering guaranteed pensions after twenty years of service. Less and less do you hear about people who have stayed with one company, 20,30 or 40 years plus; let alone any mention of a sustainable pension. A number of Years ago, United Airlines announced to their workforce that they would not have sufficient financial resources to honor the pension commitments to their employees. United Air Wins Right to Default on Its Employee Pension Plans https://www.nytimes.com › 2005/05/11 › business › united-air-wins-right-to-….
For those United employees who were retirement age, this was not welcome news. Another pension default occurred for city employees in Detroit Detroit bankruptcy: 5 years later, retirees still adjusting https://www.freep.com › personal-finance › susan-tompor › 2018/07/12
These financial scandals have forced a growing number of workers to assume 2-3 jobs at a time. Here, the idea is that if one job should end you at least have 1-2 other positions to help you survive.
Over ten years ago, Silicon Valley itinerant workers were described as schools of fish moving from one project to another. Today these workers are referred to as the Gig Economy workers and increasingly this trend is continuing as a means to develop a stable career. According to the Federal Reserve: The Federal Reserve has a very broad definition of people working in the gig economy. The Fed says gig workers could be anyone from a babysitter to an Uber driver. According to that definition, there are as many as 75 million gig workers.Jan 7, 2019
There are substantial numbers of people now working in this capacity. Many of these people will probably not have pensions, may not have health care. The consequences of this type of labor force will reflect itself in the rates of home ownership, the number of children being born and the need for further infrastructure i.e. building new schools etc. and how all of this will effect the tax base for cities.
How will societies institutions including the Church respond to the Gig economy ? What can be offered to people who are concerned about moving from one project to the next and who may not have a lot of disposable income ? How do you help meet the needs of these people ?
There are several people that I know, including myself, who have been working this way since they were teenagers. This became the means by which one could eventually enter the big tent.
Increasingly however, things are getting more complicated, guaranteed pensions are being replaced by 401 K plans and depending upon how the economy is doing, your retirement plans may very well be a crap shoot.
As the Gig economy continues to grow and develop in the coming decades, it will be interesting to see what financial institutions, human resource organizations, school systems, and the Church do to respond to the needs of these workers as they seek to establish financial stability and a good quality of life.
May it be so.