I don’t think anyone chooses freelance. The most someone chooses is not to work
for ‘the Man’ and have to be at the same place every morning. People don’t say I
want to be a freelancer. You say I like this type of work and it happens to be work
that is not typically employed but treated as contract service. I’m a freelancer
because I got laid-off at the end of the huge burst of an economy. I never really
found a job that I was willing to do. I can get a job but I don’t want to get one
that isn’t aligned with my strengths, my interests, my passions, my intent and vision
for my professional life. That vision is everybody’s dream at least creatives. A lot
of people don’t bother dreaming because they said, ‘It’s a job you’re not supposed
to like it.’ I’ve been resistant to just taking a job to pay my bills. Obviously I have to
pay my bills. I’m not of independent means.
The tradeoff for the uncertainty and unpredictability is to find work that is emotionally and
creatively satisfying. This new work ethic, echoed by Daniel Pink in his book Free Agent
Nation, is one of “having freedom, being authentic, putting yourself on the line, and defining
success on your own terms” (Pink, 2001. p, 82). The liminality of the freelance lifestyle is
supplanted by creativity, scheduling flexibility, and autonomy. When securing payments
and finding work becomes disproportionately difficult, freelancers start improvising and
begin to consider full-time, part-time, retirement, starting their own business and other
combinations, which are expanding and changing our definition of what it means to have a
“regular job” as explored in the chapter “This is a Real Job.”
Community: The Ripple Effect of Finding Work Where You
Are Situated
Community and relationships, which are at the epicenter of social construction, is also
clearly central to the vitality of freelance work. If freelancers were not engaged in a
conversation with community and enterprise, there would be limited awareness of where
their talents and interests could connect, contribute and make a difference. Even though
freelancers are often perceived as “independent” since they have multiple employers, they
do not work alone and their actions must be coordinated with others. In the article When
Relationships Generate Realities: Therapeutic Communication Reconsidered, Gergen
states that the power of relationship must work in tandem with words and supplementary
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