• Sarah E. Brown

Skills Development as Key to Thriving in the Gig Economy with Vicky Oliver


Are you feeling stuck in your career or personal development? There are different ways to develop skills, adapt to an environment and grow into someone better.


Vicky Oliver is a leading career development expert and the multi-best-selling author of five books, including 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions, named in the top 10 list of “Best Books for HR Interview Prep,” 301 Smart Answers to Tough Business Etiquette Questions, and Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers and Other Office Idiots. She’s a sought-after speaker and seminar presenter and a popular media source, having made over 901 appearances in broadcast, print, and online outlets. For more information, visit vickyoliver.com.


In this episode, Vicky talks about the hybrid nature of gig work and what you need in order to thrive in the gig economy.



What you will learn from this episode:

  • Discover how you can prepare physically, mentally, and financially before securing a gig

  • Understand why skills and adaptability are important factors that can help you secure multiple promising gigs

  • Find out the importance of having a good mentor and being with a good network



Test it out. And then if you love it, take on another gig. Do baby steps with this.
- Vicky Oliver


Valuable Free Resource:

  • How you can develop your skills, keep up with technology and find the right gig work with the help of a good network and the power of advanced technology: LinkedIn



Topics Covered:


02:08 - Challenge is finding a good mentor or a good network to surround yourself with and help you with your skills development


02:46 - Making the jump in their career without really being prepared for it: the common mistake business women leaders make when trying to take the next step to grow their career solo


04:45 - One free and actionable tip you can do when trying to prepare yourself for that awesome and fulfilling gig you’ve always wanted: I believe the most important thing is to keep all of your skills sharp, and particularly up to date. And that means learning. Learning new skills as you go along. So often, it's easy, especially if you're working full-time someplace and you've been there for a couple of years. It's so easy to not learn something new, you know.


07:15 - One valuable free resource to help you look for the right gig and grow your skills: LinkedIn


08:25 - Q: I might have asked myself about time management because when I really think about it and peel away the onion, the problem with being somebody that's always learning and absorbing new information is that it's going to interfere with your time management. A: Let's say you get a new update, right? You know, you're there, you're on email, and you get a new update, right? You don't want to update because it's going to take time away from you.



Key Takeaways:


“The most important thing is to keep all of your skills sharp, and particularly up to date. And that means learning. Learning new skills as you go along.” - Vicky Oliver


“If you're a gig worker, and you're doing part-time jobs, and you're going from place-to-place freelancing, you really have to stay up on that technology. You have to be able to adapt and learn. And if you don't know it, know that you are able to figure it out as you go along.”

- Vicky Oliver


“That's just a reality that we have to sort of recognize the technology, we must build the skills. And it is time-consuming to do it. And I would say you have to do it when you have the opportunity to do it.” - Vicky Oliver


“It takes a little bit of an adjustment, and you have to agree with it and it needs to agree with you. So don't do anything rash.” - Vicky Oliver



Ways to Connect with Vicky Oliver



Ways to Connect with Sarah E. Brown



Full Episode Transcript:


Vicky Oliver 0:00

Don't do anything rash, test it out, and then if you love it, take on another gig. Do baby steps with this.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 0:15

Hello, everyone. Welcome to the KTS Success Factor Podcast for Women, where we talk about challenges senior female leaders face in being happy and successful at work. I'm your host, Dr. Sarah E. Brown.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 0:34

My guest today is Vicky Oliver. She is a leading career development expert and the multi-best-selling author of five books, including 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions, named in the top 10 list of "Best Books for HR Interview Prep", 301 Smart Answers to Tough Business Etiquette Questions, and Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers, and Other Office Idiots. She is a sought-after speaker and seminar presenter and a popular media source, having made over 901 appearances in broadcast, print, and online outlets. Vicky, thank you for being here today.


Vicky Oliver 1:18

Thank you so much for having me!


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 1:21

So, before I ask you my standard questions, I have to ask you, what's the significance of the number 301?


Vicky Oliver 1:28

Oh, that's such a great question. So actually, my book proposal had 250 originally, and the publishing company wanted it to be 301. They felt there was magic to an odd number. They wanted more questions and more answers. But by the time I was done, I had given so many more than 301. You know, because many of the questions have several different answers. And then there are columns in the books too, to explain even more, so there's a lot more than 301.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 1:58

I got it. Okay! So, what is the biggest challenge you help female leaders face in business today? And what might be the symptoms of that challenge?


Vicky Oliver 2:08

Well, I, personally, think that finding a good mentor or a good support network is very difficult today. I think that mentors have been disappearing, you know, for, probably, the last 10 years. But in today's hybrid workplace, finding somebody to mentor you and support your important work is so very difficult. So, one of the ways I tried to help people is just thinking about who could possibly mentor them. Because it's much easier if you have some advice guiding you, I think.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 2:42

And what is the biggest mistake you see your clients making before they start working with you?


Vicky Oliver 2:46

Well, I think that you know, COVID really upset everything. And I think a lot of people got very upset with where they were working. And, sometimes, I think that people leave jobs behind that they actually didn't mind so much. And they've sort of left. They've made the jump, you know. It feels very imperative today, I think, to do something big with your career. And sometimes I think people make that jump before they're actually prepared to do it.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 3:16

I get it. It is one of the jumps into the gig work.


Vicky Oliver 3:20

Right, because there is so much gig work. And the hybrid nature, generally, of work, you know, lends itself to even more gig work, because you could just do it and nobody is there to monitor what you're doing, right? So even if you have committed, let's say eight hours today to a particular part-time job, you know, who's to know where they're actually spending the eight hours. Right now, we're so flexible, and therefore there's more gig work available than ever before. And people can do it without being monitored by their bosses and co-workers. It's much, much easier!


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 3:58

Got it. Probably should have started off and paused and gotten a good definition of gig work. Would you like to offer up your definition of gig work?


Vicky Oliver 4:06

Oh, sure. I consider a gig work really just freelance. Freelance equals gig work. It means a short-term project where you're not on staff. You know, you're being paid freelance to do a particular project. And once the project is over, the gig is over. And you jump from gig to gig to gig.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 4:27

So, as you're thinking about your clients who are jumping, maybe, before they're ready, or they're considering going into gig work, what is a number one free and actionable tip you can give them and my audience to help them start thinking about this challenge differently now?


Vicky Oliver 4:45

Okay, I believe the most important thing is to keep all of your skills sharp, and particularly up to date. And that means learning. Learning new skills as you go along. So often, it's easy, especially if you're working full-time someplace and you've been there for a couple of years. It's so easy to not learn something new, you know. Let's say people want to work on Slack, right? But you, yourself, have never been on Slack before. You don't know what it is right? Maybe you figure out a quick workaround so that you don't have to learn it, right? And maybe if you've been someplace for a few years, they allow you to get away with that, right? But if you're a gig worker, and you're doing part-time jobs, and you're going from place-to-place freelancing, you really have to stay up on that technology. You have to be able to adapt and learn. And if you don't know it, to know that you are able to figure it out as you go along.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 5:44

Do you want to define what Slack is for my audience who may not know?


Vicky Oliver 5:50

Right. Sure! I hope this- I mean, I'm on it myself, but I don't know the technical definition. But it is a way for various workers in various locations to communicate with each other in a way that's more seamless than email, where maybe you're all working on one project together, right? And you can share information more easily that way. And it takes a little bit of getting used to it, to be honest, because it's immediate. Unlike email, which is really not immediate. And you can see when people are on it, which you really can't see with email. So, there are differences to it. And I would say it's something to get used to, you know. As for software, there are certain places like let's say you work at an online publication, you might have to learn WordPress software. There are different software you might have to jump in, and quickly learn. And your ability to find gigs is going to be partly determined by your comfort level with technology, or your ability to pick it up fast.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 5:51

I get it. I have several clients that use Slack. And I have to be able to jump from how one client is using it to how another is using it. So, you're right about the money on that! What's a valuable free resource you can share with the women who are listening today to help them understand this challenge better?


Vicky Oliver 7:15

So, thanks so much for asking me that question. I feel, for me, my go-to resource is LinkedIn. LinkedIn has so many courses that they offer. A lot of them are for free. And you can also- for example, let's say you're looking for gig work, right? And you're out there with your resume right now, LinkedIn will show you the skills that you should have for each gig job that you're applying for, right? And if you are missing that particular skill, then I would suggest going on LinkedIn and trying to find an online course to brush up on it quickly so that you can put it on your resume, and you can learn it really fast.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 7:55

And they do have a lot of really good courses.


Vicky Oliver 7:58

They do! And also, a lot of times, if you take the class with them, it'll show up on your profile already, as your LinkedIn profile will include it. So, then spiders that are searching for you online will find it too which is helpful.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 8:13

Oh, I hadn't even thought of that. That's a really good idea! So, what's one question that I should have asked you that will help our audience address this challenge now? And then would you please answer the question?


Vicky Oliver 8:25

Okay, so I might have asked myself about time management because when I really think about it and peel away the onion, the problem with being somebody that's always learning and absorbing new information is that it's going to interfere with your time management. It just is! Let's say you get a new update, right? You know, you're there, you're on email, and you get a new update, right? You don't want to update because it's going to take time away from you. That's just a reality that we have to sort of recognize the technology, we must build the skills. And it is time-consuming to do it. And I would say you have to do it when you have the opportunity to do it. Don't just say, "Well, I'm going to do it tomorrow or next week", because you won't! And there'll be more skills that you have to amass next week. So, I would say from now going forward, just know that every single day that you're working, you're going to have to add maybe an hour to your time and say, "This time, I'm going to devote to learning technology every day", you know, or half an hour every day, and then it won't be such a drag to learn it.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 9:36

Oh, what a great idea! I really liked that. Schedule it in small manageable chunks of time. That's a great idea! Hey, before we go, Vicky, I just have to ask. Do you have any parting advice for women or anyone, frankly, who's thinking about leaving a corporate job and trying out the gig economy?


Vicky Oliver 9:58

I would say don't quit your day job yet. Try to take it on the side. Try to do a gig at night, you know. Or if you work part-time, try to take one day a week and see if you can schedule a gig there and see if it agrees with you. It takes a little bit of an adjustment, and you have to agree with it and it needs to agree with you. So don't do anything rash. Test it out. And then if you love it, take on another gig. Do baby steps with this.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 10:29

Oh, I like that advice! Vicky, thank you so much for being with me today.


Vicky Oliver 10:34

Thank you for having me. This has been fantastic!


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 10:37

Thanks for listening to the KTS Success Factor Podcast for Women. If you like what you're hearing, please go to iTunes to subscribe, rate us, and leave a review. And if you would like more information on how we can help women in your organization to thrive. then go to www.sarahebrown.com. You can sign up for our newsletter, read show notes and learn more about our podcast guests, read my blog, browse through the books or contact us for a chat. Goodbye for now!

 

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