Do the Hustle!

The “gig” economy is a lifestyle all its own

By Matt Robinson

I’ve been hearing a good deal lately about this new “gig” economy in which people take a number of smaller jobs instead of aiming for the gold watch after 40 years at the plant.

As someone who has been living it for 20 years, I am not sure what is all that “new” about it.

In the past two decades, I have published over 4,000 articles, handled communications for individuals and entities around the world, taught writing, journalism, English, and boxing (Tip: always have one hobby that is way off the path set by your other pursuits—It makes you both more interesting and more marketable), traveled the world, been on the radio and TV, and continued to look for more.

Though I have held a number of part- and full-time jobs, I seem unable to settle down and stick with just one. I started my writing career while serving as a paralegal for one of the largest firms in Boston. Years later, when I was getting my first masters in education with an eye towards becoming a teacher, I was still freelancing. These days, I edit a newspaper for a major labor organization, serve as an adjunct professor at multiple colleges and universities, teach boxing, do restaurant and food writing and run my own website (, and help raise a pair of active and amazing three-year-old girls.

Exhausted? Always!

Happy? Definitely!

That being sad, this type of life is not for everyone. In fact, there seems to be a great deal of misunderstandings about it. When I taught adult education classes about how to be a successful freelancer, I remember many of my students asking what it was like to sleep until noon and do all my work in my underwear.

If you ever do it, please tell me, because I have no idea!

My “typical” day begins as soon as my mind turns on, which in many cases means the day before. Many has been the day when I pour my coffee and cereal but do not get around to enjoying them until what others consider dinner time, as my ideas and assignments just flow into each other as the hours go by.

Exhausted? Always!

Happy? Definitely!

So keep your gold watches. While I admit to having the occasional moment of regret and to sometimes feel out of place when surrounded by peers who just punched out at their law firm, medical practice, hedge fund, etc., by the end of the night, I am usually the one inviting them to tag along on my next dinner or concert review or subtly convincing them to drop their 9-5 (which is often more of a thankless 6AM-midnight, if not worse) and get in on the “gig.”

Matt Robinson is a professional journalist, writer, communications director, educator, coach, and parent. His food writing can be read at and he can be reached at


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