Category Archives: Education and Training

The Gig Economy: My Presentation and Notes from the CDC @ BCCDA 2017 Conference

My father had one job in his lifetime, I will have six jobs in my lifetime, and my children will have six jobs at the same time.” ~ Robin Chase, founder of Zipcar

For many, the quote above makes no sense at all; some think it doesn’t apply to them as they have traditional, stable jobs and careers…for others, that is already an everyday reality. For me, coming from places where collapse and change were so common that people made jokes and songs with them (and where you had to be creative about how you got your basic needs met), and with a deep understanding gained through permaculture life-design and observing (sometimes also coaching) unusual people live diverse lives, this concept is not only not new: it is seen as an opportunity, a waking call to re-think what we are, how we live and why we work.

Here, for those of you attending my presentation at the CDC Conference organized by BCCDA yesterday (March 27) and today (March 28), and for my usual readers, I post as promised my PPT and notes. You are free to connect with me for further exploration of these topics, having a tea together and talking about how to change the world, creating a social business together or just brainstorming ideas of what’s needed and what’s possible.

In the upcoming weeks and months, I will be sharing more details about my integrated vision of how to make this work for us and the clients we serve. A version of my posts will appear as articles at both the Canadian Immigrant Magazine (one of my “gigs”) and the Canadian-Filipino Magazine (again) in case you want a printed or more “polished” version.

I want to credit Diane Mulcahy, the author of “The Gig Economy” with whom I’m in contact via email, for her amazing and innovating book which served as a main source of inspiration for this presentation; I have taken the liberty of adding my own ideas (mostly coming from my permaculture systems thinking) to her “10 rules” of how to survive (and thrive) in this emerging economy. I also want to acknowledge Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, university professors and authors of “Designing your Life” as I took some of their ideas and spiced them up with my own knowledge and experience as a certified career councellor and life coach. You can find information about how to get their books and materials at the end of this post.

Finally, as a permaculturist and social justice activist myself, I will add some ideas that go beyond career counselling: I see the Gig Economy as both a result of our times (and a sign of deepening inequality, loss of values and the emergence of potential abuse and exploitation of those less privileged ) and as an extraordinary opportunity. If we leave it be, we will see more and more of the former (abuse and exploitation and the celebration of unhealthy, unethical and selfish as a “model” to follow)…but if we “design” the change and intervene in the right places, we may end up with a re-distribution of work, a re-evaluation of why we are here and what our priority are and a focus on holistic and global health and equality, ethics and co-operation instead…

Without more preambles, here is my presentation, enjoy!

“Look to this picture above for a minute…what do you see? What’s the first word or thought that comes to you?

Some will see this as a sunset: the day is over and darkness is approaching…others will see it as a sunrise: the sun is raising after a long dark night.

What about the tree and its branches? What season is that? Again, some will see this as the start of the fall: the tree branches look bare, as if all the leaves have fallen…others, will see that it may actually be spring, and the bare branches are now beginning to cover themselves with small buds…

I chose this picture to represent my views on the emerging gig economy because it can be seen as both: the start of a dark period for workers or the rebirth of independence and the opportunity to re-think career, work and even life design!

In the next hour and a half, we will explore the options and you will decide whether this is an end, a beginning or both and what is our role as career practitioners, program developers and managers, funders and social advocates.”

You can download the entire PPT with my notes here: Navigating the Gig Economy PPT with Notes by Silvia Di Blasio

The Books:

The Gig Economy:

Designing Your Life: (for book and materials you can download):

Note: this presentation was recorded. If the video is good, I will be publishing it here too for those interested.

More than ever, we at the end of the last century were finding ourselves with big houses and broken homes, high incomes and low morale…we were excelling at making a living but too often failing at making a life. We celebrated our prosperity but yearned for purpose. We cherished our freedoms but longed for connection. In an age of plenty, we were feeling spiritual hunger.” ~ David Myers


Navigating the Gig Economy – Part 1

I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.
Delicious Ambiguity.”
~ Gilda Radner


Welcome to 2017 and the start of an uncertain future…I don’t know of any time where the future has been “certain” but there were periods in the past (and applicable to some places and peoples, to be completely honest) where things seemed much more predictable that they look now.

Uncertainty can be frightening and paralyzing but can also be an opportunity to ground yourself into what’s always “certain”: that as long as you are alive and here, you have a choice. The choice of being intentional and proactive instead of reactive, the choice to respond in a way that works for that you believe on.

One of the trends we have been witnessing in the last decade is the emergence of the “Gig Economy”: more and more jobs are now contract, part-time, outsourced or project-based.

For employers, paying workers to stay 9-5 with no guarantee (or need) for productivity is becoming more and more disadvantageous. Contracting people for what needs to be done saves them time and money as there is no need to pay for benefits, vacation, employment insurance and the like.

Automation, demographics, trading and outsourcing are also factors affecting worker stability, and that without going deeper and mentioning the real limits to grow at the resource, energy and financial levels or the more social and psychological nature of boredom, skills gap or mismatch, lack of motivation, abuse and oppression, etc.

For workers, the Gig Economy can be a real challenge, especially in the case of vulnerable workers such as people with disabilities or chronic conditions, low skilled workers, women, seniors and people from minority groups such as immigrants, refugees and people from the LGTB communities. These are sectors of the population who have always experienced instability and uncertainty in their jobs. The Gig Economy has the potential to make things worse for them, but also to give them tools to empower themselves.

The Gig Economy is not new: we always had contract and temp jobs in the past. What’s new is the trend for these practices increasing…and showing no signs of going anywhere soon.

While “stable” jobs are not going to disappear, they are being reduced. Different studies predict that in the next decades (if we survive climate change, resource depletion, social, economic and financial issues and the like), between 40% and 60% of the population may be engaged in some sort of “Gig Economy”. This includes social entrepreneurship and small business in general.

If you still believe in the formula “Go to School, Get a Job+Get Married, Make a Career, Buy a House+Car+Form a Family, Retire and Enjoy”, your expectations may be shattered by the realities of the Gig Economy. Most people alive today has already have two or more jobs, those in their 20’s or 30’s can expect to change jobs at least twice per decade, if not more…salaries are stagnant and benefits are being reduced or completely dismantled.

For many, however, the Gig Economy may be a door to enjoying life in a very different way and the liberation from the enslaving 9-5 job. If designed and planned, the Gig Economy can give you time off between gigs to explore Nature and your inner world, enjoy quality time with friends and family, contribute to your community and support others in their life paths. The Gig Economy also gives you the opportunity to explore different career paths, work in different areas of interest and develop diverse skills instead of being attached to one sector, profession or occupation your whole life!

The Gig Economy has also another potential: to re-build our local economies and communities in a very different, more sustainable way and to take advantage of the many gifts each one of us brings to this world.

Diane Mulcahy, author of “The Gig Economy” and lecturer of a course of her own creation and with the same name, has developed a set of “Ten Rules” to succeed in the Gig Economy.

In the upcoming weeks, I’ll be posting my own interpretation of these “rules” as a preparation for my presentation at the BCCDA 2017 Conference for Career Development Practitioners.

If you are a Life or Career Coach or someone who has been affected or is curious about the Gig Economy, you may want to start following these postings. You’ll find my own twist (I am a career and life coach myself with a twist that embraces an eco-psychology approach), which includes my studies and activism around transition out of fossil fuels, climate change, resource depletion, social justice and permaculture, among other areas of interest.





The Secrets of Healthy Soil – With Silvia Di Blasio

Without soil there is no food, no life…

If you are fascinated by soil and life, if you want to learn more about how soils are formed, types of soil and soil characteristics and how they apply to your health, your food and your garden, come and join me this coming Wednesday, April 22 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM at the Newton Recreation Centre. (Surrey, BC)

Workshop is free!

Bring a friend, bring a neighbour…but let me know, seats are limited…

More details:

secrets of healthy soils

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