together and in advance. Keeping your word is essential to the independent worker
especially in the age of social media where the quality of your work can be bantered about
on Twitter.
Sustainability On The Edge: Would Trade Freedom For
Given the long recession, I expected to find the financial sustainability of these freelancers
more in jeopardy than I have. They are still working and like all Americans have adapted
their expectations and are appreciative for the fact that they are treading water better than
most. A few of the journalists were finding the decrease in rates disconcerting as is the
case with Ayad Rahim, because as he says his conservative views are more “narrowcast.”
He is adapting by starting a sideline rental and reconstruction business along with going
back to graduate school in another field. His story is a critical reminder of the necessity of
lifelong education to keep afloat.
All the freelancers involved with this dissertation, because of years of experience, have
fared better because of diversified portfolios; but they must hustle more because the rates
have decreased, while the time it takes to receive a check has increased. But make no
mistake, the compromised rates have forced them to work longer and harder and it has
affected their quality of life. It’s good enough but not great given the harsh economic reality
everyone encountered after the recent economic meltdown. A few have moved to full-time
employment and others are considering their next move. Even with full-time, the new
American workforce is stalled because of decreased wages and higher inflation. No longer
is your work style standalone: many full-time employees are developing sideline ventures;
some are working multiple part-time jobs while freelancing but also considering starting
their own business or returning to full-time work; and the chronically underemployed may
have to think about relocating to North Dakota. Americans are working harder, longer, and
faster and the attention to quality of life is coming to the forefront as a key issue for
It is important to keep in mind that the majority of the freelancers involved with this project
have been working 15 30 years in varying configurations of freelance, part-time, and full-
time work. The following vignettes are snapshots of how financial adaptability coupled with
talent and relational skills keep the freelancers afloat while quality of life is somewhat adrift.
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