Freelancing has Redefined Work/Life Balance
And we aren’t rushing back to the traditional workforce
I recently read a piece on LinkedIn that I genuinely thought was a satire about how the work-from-home (WFH) movement was destroying careers. Unfortunately, the author was serious. It seems this person genuinely believes that without face-to-face interactions in the hallways and the ability to be mentored (and monitored) by those with more experience, those working from home are lazy and lack ambition.
After my initial disgust that I had given the author the attention they were obviously seeking, I took some time to reflect on my WFH experience. I am a freelance writer specializing in writing for the legal space. As a freelancer, I don’t have an employer. I have clients. I don’t receive benefits, stock options, or PTO. Am I trapped in a predatory system designed to allow others to profit from me without offering me the “comforts” of full-time employment?
That seems to be the narrative a handful of fans for the return to the traditional workforce is peddling. After a careful look at my own journey, here is what I have learned.
Freelancing Isn’t the Right Choice for Everyone
There are plenty of people who joyfully returned to the traditional workforce when the pandemic eased. They had missed the structure, sense of community, social interactions, and coworkers’ input. These people thrive in their work environment, and that is fantastic.
Others gave freelancing a try and found it discouraging. It can be brutally hard to get started as a freelancer, and there are many ways to be taken advantage of.
You operate without a safety net, and the risks can be daunting. One of the most daunting tasks for freelancers is learning to sell yourself. This is followed closely by difficulty in determining what your abilities, experience, and expertise are worth.
I know other freelancers who loved their freelance lifestyle but could no longer tolerate the risk. For any number of reasons, they needed to return to the relative safety of steady paychecks, company-provided insurance, and a traditional work schedule.