“One job is no longer enough to survive”: Dolly Parton’s Super Bowl ad glosses over the reality of millions of gig workers, critics say

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Dolly Parton’s “5 to 9” superbowl ad is as catchy and upbeat as her original hit “9 to 5”.

The reality of working in the gig economy, however, is nowhere near as glamorous as the Squarespace commercial directed by Oscar-winning Damien Chazelle of “La La Land”.

“When you work between 5 and 9, you have passion and a vision / Because it’s time to have a whole new way of living,” Parton sings in the commercial when a woman blissfully emerges from her office cubicle for her side appearance to pursue the launch of a dance fitness website.

See also: Dolly Parton turned down the President’s Freedom Medal twice from Trump – says she isn’t sure she would accept it from Biden

“The majority of gig workers are forced to get involved in the gig economy not to fund a passion project, but to have food on the table and a roof over their heads because one job is no longer enough to survive “said Cherri Murphy, a Lyft LYFT, 2.61% driver and organizer at Gig Workers Rising, a coalition of gig workers who are committed to protecting workers.

Squarespace did not respond to MarketWatch’s request for comment.

In fact, during the pandemic, more Americans joined the gig economy after being laid off or on leave from their traditional 9-5 job, or after their working hours were cut.

Gig employees usually make money from on-demand appearances like driving for Uber UBER (+ 1.26%) or shopping for Instacart or freelance work on sites like Upwork UPWK (+ 4.54%) or Fiverr FVRR (+ 4.69%).


“If you are forced to spend most of your waking hours juggling multiple jobs that offer poor pay and no real benefits or safeguards, this is not empowerment – it is exploitation.”

Their income is notoriously unpredictable and the benefits of working full-time are missing many of the benefits – they may get multiple gigs in one day and few, if any, gigs the next day.

Connected: A new US rule could boost gig economy businesses while costing American workers billions

However, the gig economy appeals to some workers because they have the ability to set their own hours.

30-year-old Jason Ostick is ready to take these risks when he wakes up at 6:30 a.m. every day, except Mondays, to make his way to fulfill Instacart orders. Occasionally he also tries his luck with other gig platforms like UberEats, Doordash DASH (-4.28%) and Shipt TGT (+ 0.14%)..

His minimum goal is to make $ 100 a day, which he was usually able to achieve around 2:30 pm, largely due to tips he received.

He then goes home for something to eat and then sets off for his second job as a waiter at a family-run pizza restaurant in a suburb of Chicago, West Dundee, IL. He makes $ 10 an hour and typically tips over 20% from repeat customers.


“It’s a choice you make to play these gigs – you don’t have to. Can it be a lot of work and possibly many hours? Yes’

– Jason Ostick, buyer for Instacart

Jason Ostick pictured usually wakes up at 6:30 am to start shopping for Instacart. His working day doesn’t end until 9 p.m. after his second job. Your work as a waiter is over.

Jason Ostick

After 9 p.m. he picks up his 11-month-old son from his parents’ house, has dinner with his fiancé and finally calls it the day after his son fell asleep.

The Parton ad he said is “an accurate representation of real gig workers”.

“It’s a choice you make to play these gigs – you don’t have to. Can it be a lot of work and possibly many hours? Yes. But for me I am a doer, I love going out as much as possible. “

Waiting for gigs and lean tips from customers can make a few days feel endless, he said, but he’s a lot happier than he was at his previous job at another restaurant where he earned a minimum wage of $ 6 an hour.

Murphy said gig work is often underpaid and takes long hours, mostly for people in dire need of money.

“If you are forced to spend most of your waking hours juggling multiple jobs that offer poor pay and no real benefits or safeguards, it is not empowerment,” she said.

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