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My Economy: The expensive side of working gigs

Co-working spaces like Cove in Washington, D.C., are growing as more people work the short-term jobs of the gig economy. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

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For this latest installment of our series My Economy, we hear from Tom Trimbath in Clinton, Washington. Trimbath’s work includes freelance writing and consulting.

My name is Tom Trimbath. I was an engineer at Boeing for 18 years. I was always working with commercial airplanes or commercial rockets or commercial satellites. I decided to make the turn when I found out I could retire at 38, which was a nice thing to have happen. It was actually at a time when there were cutbacks. And I was sitting there at work, and I knew that I had enough to live my frugal lifestyle. And I was watching all these young families, and they’re trying to figure out if they’re gonna make it through the layoffs. And it just felt like I couldn’t stay there.

When the recession hit, that happened to be when I lost a lot, and that’s when I had to scramble to find out some other way to kind of, all of a sudden pay a lot of bills. It was the hardest time then to step back into a regular full-time job, because there weren’t any.

The gig economy is usually associated with millennials. Almost everybody that I know in the gig economy is the parents of the millennials, because it’s that hard to get full-time jobs anymore.

Throughout the years, I’ve been trying to get back into an engineering job because they pay really well, and I really enjoy the work. I mean, it’s really neat to kinda make things fly, literally.

What I’ve found is, this is actually an expensive way to work. I can pay for almost all my bills with all this work, but not quite. I can either pay for everything except income tax or pay for everything except health insurance.

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