Ruth Slavid talks architecture

How is freelance different? – freelance post 2

Posted in Uncategorized by ruthslavid on December 29, 2012

There are of course some elements of freelance life that are obviously different from being in employment, but actually the changes go beyond those.
Being freelance is not, I discovered, just a matter of not having to go to the office, not having to wear work clothes everyday, and being able to choose when to take a holiday.
Relationships change entirely. Offices, however much people like to talk about ‘flat organisations’ are essentially hierarchical. Everyone, except the boss of bosses, has a boss. And a lot of people are not in the position they would like to be in. There is therefore a lot of jockeying for position, of people trying to look good compared to their peers.
Call me naive but I didn’t realise how much this would change once I became freelance. And it comes down to one thing – money. When you are freelance, you are providing a service in exchange for money. It is one of the things that I disliked in advance about the idea of freelance life. I preferred the idea that one did the best job one did out of loyalty, professional pride, team relations and a belief in the product (magazine). And that at the end of the year one received one’s salary, but the two weren’t intimately related. Which was why, although receiving a bonus was nice, it always felt a little cheapening as well.
Freelances of course just work for the money. But I found that that was liberating, not demeaning. Because it changes relationships from the hierarchical to being one of exchange. I will do this job for you because you need me to. And in exchange, you will give me money. it does not feel to me like a relationship of the employed and employer, but like an exchange between equals. Which was why I was very comfortable, from early on, taking commissions from people who had previously worked for me.
In that sense, although not in every sense, being freelance is much less stressful.

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