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mid-week Connect: 5/17/23 ~ Global grassroots gigs

Greetings and Happy Midweek!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about jobs - since I lost mine in late March, and need to get another one before too long…so I thought we’d explore one type of job opportunity which exists in many forms globally. I’ll call it “global grassroots gigs” - and it fits really neatly into the PROgrams component of our Global SKILLs PROACTive Framework. I see grassroots gigs as Programs because to be sustainable, they do need some strategic planning however informal that might be…and we can learn some valuable lessons from these gig workers.

I am thinking of two types of grassroots gigs I experienced widely in West African cultures.

One was the street vendor, usually a woman, who set up a kitchenette (tiny charcoal burner, large flat pan with oil, pile of papers for wrapping, tin can with the dough) on a well traveled sidewalk or corner, and fried and sold delicious donuts. Decades ago when things were unsettled and global cataclysm was in the realm of possibilities (remember dire Y2K predictions?!), I had a Plan B if I ever was in Africa and unable to return to the US…I would become a donut lady to support myself! It was undeniably hard work, but they pursued it day in and day out with admirable vigor and consistently good humor - and made a decent living. I was truly inspired by how they managed their chosen grassroots gig.

The other gig was the ‘bead ladies’ - who draped dozens of beaded necklaces on their arms and wandered the streets and markets, selling them mostly to tourists. They were aggressive and boisterous, haggling to the point of exhaustion (for the targeted client!). But thinking back about them, I must admit they took those beautiful African bead necklaces to new heights of interest which included not just the necklace…but the whole experience of buying one - or preferably a handful! What I learned from that grassroot gig was not to be too pushy or you’ll definitely lose the sale, with tourists at least. Better to make it a fun exchange - stories and antics and outrageous complements - and you’ve sold your wares!

As I think about getting yet another a job now here in the US…I lean toward setting up my own grassroots gig. I’ll keep you posted about how these (and other) global gig insights inform my choices...

How about you ~ what is an effective multi-cultural ‘grassroots gig’ you are involved with or have heard of?

Share about that with a friend or note it here.

And check out the Global SKILLs LINKs below for more on gig workers and economies.

Thanks for being part of this Connect community.

Until next week,



~ a Senegalese grassroot gig worker:

~ a bigger picture GIG = Global Innovation Gathering

~ Latin American gigs - pros & cons:


Related Connect posts 5/3/23 - balancing (micro vs macro economics); 7/15/20 - African Beads’ Beauty; 8/12/20 - bartering; (you can find these here by scrolling down to the date)

* Through my business Global SKILLs and several partner subsidiaries I offer unique cross-cultural consulting and training including:

3 Dimensional Dynamics Model:

1st dimension = HOME ; 2nd dimension = HOST ; 3rd dimension = HARBOR)

PROACTive Framework:

PRO = PROfile, PROcess, PROgrams (which we explored this week)

ACT = Application, Collaboration and Transformation

~ contact me for more information on this model and these strategies and how you might use them in your current programming:

2023 ~ Celebrating 40+ years of working in

intercultural communications and global community building

“It takes a community to build a community”

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