170 
The Compensation: A Larger Relational Network
When asked if she was compensated more as a freelancer? Sheryl replies, “Yes -- but not
that much more. I’ve been a freelancer for seven - eight hundred dollars a day. When you
go on staff they cut it back because you’re getting insurance, holidays. You make a little
less as staff but get more benefits.”
For Sheryl, 35+ years in the industry, is a testament to not only her talent but also her
relational contacts. I ask, “In New York -- that’s quite a feat?” Sheryl proudly notes, “Yeah
it is. I’ve been so many places and have lots of contacts. When they leave, they call me
and I’ll make more contacts there. Every job I walk into as a freelancer today -- I probably
know 50 percent of the staff.” I asked if knowing that many people works to her advantage
and she replies, “yes, I think so (LAUGHS) unless they don’t like me.”
Experience Counts During Downturn; Relationships Critical
A thick skin is a necessity in the advertising world and maybe even more so when you
bounce from job-to-job. I asked Sheryl, “do you ever get comfortable?” She quickly
replies, “I’m comfortable wherever I go. I know everybody when I go into a place. It’s all
about relationships.”
I was curious about working in an industry where many employees are half her age. Sheryl
says, “They’re kids. We always thought we knew more and they think they know more. I
just laugh and see myself thirty years ago.” Sheryl bridges the generational divide and this
extends her work capacity.
Sheryl offers a positive twist regarding the recent downturn, “where everybody had to lay
off people they are now looking to the more experienced to handle more work in less
time.” Sheryl is a realist and doesn’t overrate her skill sets. She recognizes, “it can
change tomorrow. Nothing is for any length of time in this business. It always changes.”
She considers herself “lucky” as do many of the freelancers, but also knows “a lot of good
people that haven’t been lucky.” She attributes her success to her relational connections.
“Everybody’s only looking out for themselves. Except us freelancers we’re always looking
out for each other. At least in my group of people. We look out for each other.”
“You really find out when you’re unemployed or freelance who your friends are and who
your fake friends are. The fake friends I just cut out of my life,” notes Sheryl. It is a great
separating device and she adds, “It is because I only have quality people in my life.”
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