Bob Ell | St. Louis Public Radio

Bob Ell

Michael Rozier
Michael Rozier

As an assistant professor of health management and policy at St. Louis University, Michael Rozier is used to thinking a lot about matters of public health — and finding plenty of reasons for hope. His research focuses on the shift toward preventative health care efforts, as well as how ethical and moral rhetoric can advance health care policy. But last week, with COVID-19 case numbers in the U.S. suggesting any end to the pandemic is still a long way off, he took to Twitter to offer some less-than-optimistic predictions.

“Sadly, I'm becoming convinced that #COVID is not far from taking on the characteristics of #gunviolence,” Rozier tweeted. “[The U.S.] will endure much higher, persistent negative effects from something that other countries have solved; we'll normalize it and convince ourselves nothing can be done.” The tweet was off the cuff, but it quickly gained traction online, with both those in agreement and those who found it too pessimistic weighing in.

Bob Ell (at left) drives for Uber and Lyft on top of his full-time job at UMSL. William Frazier (center) did freelance work full-time until just a few months ago when he accepted a more traditional position with a company. SLU's Matt Grawitch is director
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Moonlighting, freelancing, working a second job, picking up a side hustle – all of these terms and cobbled-together career strategies have become common themes in an ever-changing 21st-century economy. And many people in the St. Louis region are among those who have adopted such an approach to making a living.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh led a discussion about such labor trends, digging into the reasons behind them.

Joining the discussion were Bob Ell, a full-time University of Missouri-St. Louis staff member who also regularly drives for Uber and Lyft; William Frazier, a locally based designer, writer, founder and self-described “productive fumbler”; and Matt Grawitch, director of strategic research for St. Louis University’s School of Professional Studies.