Letters to the editor of the Globe Magazine

Readers share their experiences in the gig economy, negotiating pay, and starting over in a new industry.


The Gig Economy Never Sleeps” (April 24) notes that gig workers do not generally receive benefits, such as a 401(k) plan. Independent contractors also fall outside most workplace legal protections (e.g., discrimination, safety, and leave laws), which are typically limited to employment. At the same time, many of these folks are actually mislabeled employees. Just because people are called independent contractors doesn’t mean they are.

Lisa J. Bernt / Belmont

My first two good jobs out of college offered job security, good pay, benefits, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. lifestyle. The first job, technology change (hint: your camera is on your phone now), disappeared after five years. The second job, outsourcing, disappeared five years later. In survival mode I discovered freelancing. Better pay, shorter hours, bought my own benefits, opened an IRA. Twenty-five years later I retired and I am happy. Freelancing happened to work out [well] for me although I was always envious of my full-time worker friends with all the benefits and steady jobs. Here’s the hitch: They are all still working, still miserable in the jobs, still not happy.


proftom2 / posted on


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Thank you so much for the inclusion of Ibby Caputo’s article “Women and the Negotiation Trap” (April 24). Taking advantage of the American Association of University Women offerings and expanding the availability to the women of Boston and the surrounding area is a testament to forward-thinking Boston. Helping women helps everyone throughout the broader economy. Reading the article has inspired me to investigate becoming a facilitator for the AAUW. As one “member of the village,” I want to do my part to help as many as I can for as long as I can. Thank you for educating your readers!

Holly Doherty / Atkinson, New Hampshire

I was about 19 when I asked my boss for a dollar-an-hour raise and got 50 cents (which was a lot of money to me then). One of my co-workers asked me why I was making more when he had been there longer. “Because I asked.” He went and asked for “a raise” without specifying an amount. He got 25 cents. It’s not only about gender; there’s an assertiveness and skill factor as well. Sociology studies do show that women who negotiate too aggressively are perceived negatively. However, you won’t get very far if you don’t negotiate at all.

Effrontery / posted on



We were very pleased to be featured in “Career Changing? Look for Helping Hands” (April 24), and proud of the accomplishments of Paul Benford-Bruce, one of our many trainees/graduates. Even as we applaud the new paths found by the others also profiled, we want to emphasize that training and finding employment for workers like Benford-Bruce remain among the great challenges and opportunities here in Massachusetts. For 34 years, Operation A.B.L.E. has done just that for more than 34,000 job seekers 45 and older from economically, racially, and occupationally diverse backgrounds. We are delighted that Governor Baker has earmarked $5 million for job training initiatives for Massachusetts residents, but, unfortunately, that amount barely scratches the surface. Good training and job search skills require a significant investment in the nonprofit training community, which has the best results vs. private training vendors or community colleges.

Joan Cirillo

President and CEO of Operation A.B.L.E. of Greater Boston Inc.


I really needed that essay “Things I Wish I Knew Before I Changed Careers” (Perspective, April 24). Having resigned from a truck dealership when a new computer system completely overwhelmed me and stripped me of all self-confidence, I was sure my people skills would help me to fit in anywhere. After that misconception, I had to step back and realize that my age IS a factor and my views of life and work ethic are “so last generation.” It’s taking longer than I thought, but I’m finding my way in today’s world. Thank you for reminding me that I’m not alone.

Karen Corinha / Marshfield

As a high-tech manager who had to reinvent himself several times throughout my career, I fully understand the fear and desperation of losing a job. And then with each subsequent job search, overcoming the increased perception that this “old guy” maybe had lost the “fire in the belly” and had become obsolete in the high-tech workplace. In 2007, my then employer was acquired and, at age 57, I was again out of work. If finding a job was challenging before, I knew no one would hire me now. So I decided to hire myself and, with my wife, started a private-duty senior home-care business. This personal reinvention turned out to be one of the best moves of my career. In eight years, we built the business into one of the largest and most respected senior home-care agencies on the South Shore. We recently sold the business and positioned ourselves for a comfortable retirement. To those who are in the late stages of their career and need to change jobs, my advice is to look in the mirror. You may see the boss you had always hoped to have.


Frank Callahan / Norwell

Thanks to Dan [Lyons] and the Globe for publishing this. It is easy to get caught up in a fantasy about life being better if I start over at another job. It seems that an entire part of the publishing industry is devoted to reinvent, reimagining, etc. I appreciate some realistic advice.

Easydoesit1956 / posted on

CONTACT US Write to or The Boston Globe Magazine/Comments, PO Box 55819, Boston, MA 02205-5819. Comments are subject to editing.