By Carol Berman
The word "gig" elicits thoughts of comedians and musicians, getting gigs at clubs to pay the bills or cover the bar tab. It also means "small boat," but perhaps the only connection to that 14th century use is that people today hope gigs will keep them afloat. "Freelance" is out; "gig" is in. (Don't miss Buzz (Over) Kill: Modern Office Catchphrases.)
In the past, people often in creative fields chose to freelance for many reasons: a flexible work schedule, the chance to work for many clients, no office politics, autonomy, and no profit sharing. Today, after layoffs, some people are finding that "gigging" is the way to go; with a skill and a little marketing or word-of-mouth, former corporate employees can even make a larger salary with gigs.