freelance life

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What I’m Looking Forward to About My New Schedule

Green Lantern at Terrain

Earlier this week I shared what I’ll miss most about making my own schedule. So it only seems fair to also talk a little bit about why I’ve decided to return to the 9 to 5 world. This whole freelancing topic has gotten out-of-hand trendy and super glorified in certain blog circles, with everyone and their mother suddenly being a budding “expert” on how to be an independent worker. So I also hope to bring some balance to that conversation.

When I first left my proofreading job to go on this sabbatical, there was nothing but a but the fog of possibility before me. The plan was to learn as much as I could and then hope that the road would take shape. I thought I’d likely either work towards a full-time independent business or try to get a full-time job that would be a good fit and help me learn even faster.

Though I definitely plan to keep taking independent contract work, there are many reasons why I decided to rejoin the ranks of the employed-by-others.

  • I’ll be surrounded by a team of people I can learn from on a daily basis.
  • I’m more productive and organized when I have an externally structured schedule. I wish this weren’t true about me, but it is.
  • There’s no clock to stop. When freelancing, I stop my clock when I get up to get a drink or go to the bathroom. When working for someone else, I get paid even when taking a bathroom break.
  • Snow days are snow days again. (This is no small thing right now.) And if I choose to work on a snow day, it’ll be to get ahead on freelance work. (Or maybe I’ll get a work laptop? It will be a necessity if this slop keeps up much longer…)
  • I’ll get to have a hand in things that a ton (thousands? millions?) of people will see.
  • I can learn so much faster if there’s external pressure to pick up a new technology or skill for a pending project.
  • I’m unequivocally introverted, but human interaction is healthy. I tend to work like a hermit, even with access to excellent coworking communities. It’ll be good for me have friendly work acquaintances I’ll (be forced to) see every day.
  • My version control workflow skills will improve greatly by working with a team and having to merge and resolve conflicts and with others, rather than being the only one committing to a code repository.
  • Javascript. It’s time. Time to be a ninja/rockstar/whatever dumb name the ridiculous start up scene uses in job postings these days.
  • I won’t be the one having to chase someone down to get assets or information I need.
  • It’ll be easier for me to take on passion projects or non-paying creative endeavors when I know I’ll have a baseline of regular income.
  • It’s a huge confidence boost to know that a place I wanted to work at wanted me to work for them. If I succeed, it’ll be a testament to the value of the time I put in to learning and growing over the past year and a half.

I’m super grateful for this past season, but I’m equally excited for the one ahead. Like I’ve said, I’ll still be taking select independent projects, so I’ll get to keep some of the perks of that while also benefiting from all of the above.

Have you ever returned to a regular full time job after freelancing? Any favorite pros/cons of either set up? Tips on managing both?

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Lunchtime Reads 11.4.13

Fall DahliasBringing Art Home: What is the fruit of creativity worth to us? We are totally blessed to have been gifted with tons of art for our wedding, but I understand the hesitation to spend money on art. I think many people probably focus on the practical necessities (especially those with Mennonite/Anabaptist backgrounds, and probably other specific backgrounds as well), but what if art is also a necessity? What is the worth and role of beauty, art, and creativity?

Get Specific about your dreams. Sure, you can say you want a more interesting and inspiring life, but what does that specifically look like? Kathleen reminds us that if we want to move in the direction of our dream job, dream life, or dream travels, we need to take action. Dreaming vaguely doesn’t get ish done. Getting specific does. This is definitely something I need to work on, though I’ve certainly improved over the past year.

Quilts, maps, history, and more. This is rad & makes me want to quilt more than ever. Pouring my love, time, and self into something so practical & beautiful (I clearly love the marriage of form and function, practicality and art — see above!), is super appealing to me. Alas, it’s also super time consuming. I can do it all, just not all at once. Learning to quilt will have to wait.

I’ll admit, I’m biased, but I’m incredibly proud of Chad for writing this post: Subconscious Life Lessons: My (White, Male) Narrative is More Important Than Yours. One of the things that I love about him is his willingness to accept criticism, improve, and evolve. He’s bravely and publicly taken time to reflect and examine his own privilege as a white male: “It’s awful to think but doubtlessly true that people who are not white or male learn the same lesson in our culture: That the white male narrative is the main story arc, and everyone else plays a supporting role.” But he points out that if those of us who aren’t part of the main white male story arc don’t speak up, the world is missing out on a multitude of stories and perspectives.

Likewise, Garann Means encourages non white non male humans to blog about code & give zero fucks. Her words, not mine, though I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment. I’ve struggled with this personally & will be thinking about venues to practice writing about code. Hesitating to write about code is doing me no favors, no matter how little experience I have. There’s still people who know less than I do and could learn from something I share.

What interesting things have you been reading ’round the interwebs lately? I want to know!

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Goals & Spontaneity: Can they coexist?

Goal-setting versus SpontaneitySarah von Bargen, as she is wont to do, wrote something that got me thinking. At the time of her post, there were 99 days left in 2013. That is crazy. It feels like just weeks ago that Chad and I were planning our year, a very uncharacteristic thing for us to do. We’ve historically been fly-by-the-seats-of-our-pants kind of people. Sometimes that leads to delight through unexpected adventure, but it also leads to wandering around tourist sections of Barcelona, undecided about where to eat dinner and me with an acute case of “hanger,” that is, hunger and anger. I spend a lot of time in that hungry-angry place.

I had a really hard time planning my year. There was just so much unknown. Would we travel? I really hoped so. When? How would we fit it in? Well, whenever made sense down the line, of course!

With this being my year of creative sabbatical, would I focus more on writing or web development? Would there be any unforeseen hobbies or activities or projects that would change my life and be part of my every day? Would I start my own small business or look for a full-time development job?

There was just so much we didn’t know. If we made goals and got laser-focused on achieving them, would we miss the really incredible unplanned opportunity just lurking around the corner?

I would like to get better about goal-setting for sure. I think it’d be really good for me to get more focused, especially as someone who tends toward spontaneity, and I’d probably accomplish more. But I wonder if the intense goal-setting that happens sometimes doesn’t leave room for the magic and delight of impromptu travel, adventures, or an unexpected opportunity that could change everything. Or maybe my “But what about spontaneity?” hesitation is just an excuse for not making a serious list of goals and following through. I’m not sure.

I’m curious. Have you ever thought about this? What is your natural tendency: goal-setting or spontaneity? Would you like more of one or the other in your life?