Friday April 08, 2016

A 'precarious worker' tells us why she loves her job

Servers are among those considered to have "precarious" employment.

Servers are among those considered to have "precarious" employment. (Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

Listen 6:49

There's been a lot of talk in recent years about workers who belong to the 'precariat.' These are workers — many of whom participate in the "gig economy" — with little job security, low wages and few benefits.

But long before this discussion began, Sarah Little  was working all kinds of 'precarious' jobs.  Camp counsellor, server, truck driver, Uber driver, are just a few of the jobs she has worked over the course of her life, and at the age of 41, she has no plans to change. 

Even the use of of the word 'precarious' itself, seems to be coming from people in the mainstream, says Little.

"You sort of punch that clock, those '9-5ers'  and grocery shopping is always at the same time and dinner is always at the same time. And for those many of us, who work outside of that mainstream schedule, I don't know if we view it as precarious."

Little says she has heard the argument before that employers are using temporary workers to get out of providing people with things like benefits or pensions, but she says she has never felt cheated. 

"You never really have the same day," she says as she reflects on the freedom her career choices have afforded her. 

"I can switch restaurants or I can go choose to work, in my industry,  with a chef I want to learn from, or a wine director I want to learn from." 

There are also the little things, she says. 

"I can get my groceries at 1pm on a Monday afternoon, and I've been to Costco on a Saturday afternoon and it's not the most enjoyable experience."

As for the future, sure, she worries about it.

Little after all, doesn't have a pension or benefits and serving tables is of a physical nature, but she says she think her worries are probably quite similar to everyone else's.