Down and Out in the New Economy, by Ilana Gershon (book cover)When I picked it up, I assumed Ilana Gershon’s Down and Out in the New Economy would be about the gig economy.

It's not.

Instead, Gershon observed job seminars and spoke with job seekers and hiring managers in the Bay Area, trying to figure out how workers respond to the constant demand to be flexible, take on risk, and change their persona in a heartbeat… yet be the most ready, experienced, perfect fit for any given job.

While weak ties with your uncle's cousin's friend once helped people learn about unadvertised jobs, now workplace ties let former colleagues vouch for your work.

Comparing old and new resumes, Gershon notes how resumes are:

“no longer a historical record [of what you have done]; they are now a marketing document. As a result, you are supposed to present the business solutions you have implemented in the past.”

It's as if everyone was an independent contractor, ready to swing their business into action all the time. Hence all the quantification of resumes with 25% improvement: you’re expected to hit the ground running, producing maximum improvements, and ready to be laid off and enter a whole new line of work at any moment. Exhausting. But a useful read. 

Down and Out in the New Economy: How People Find (or Don’t Find) Work Today
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