In America, more than any other developed country, jobs are the basis for a whole suite of social guarantees meant to ensure a stable life. Workplace protections like the minimum wage and overtime, as well as key benefits like health insurance and pensions, are built on the basic assumption of a full-time job with an employer. As that relationship crumbles, millions of hardworking Americans find themselves ejected from that implicit pact. For many employees, their new status as “independent contractor” gives them no guarantee of earning the minimum wage or health insurance. For Borland, a new full-time job left her in the same chair but without a livable income.
I am five years into my second consulting career. In fact, I need to make a decision today whether to accept an open-ended 1099 position with a bank. Fortunately for me, I have 15 years of experience in a field that currently has nearly 100% employment and there are millions of unfilled positions. But other workers are not that lucky.