Ah, the holidays. As they fast approach, we’re left with our memories as children. The nostalgia of jack-o-lanterns, paper pilgrim hats, and the makings of many traditions. One tradition that is common is to go around the table and say what we’re all thankful for. From unlimited learning to free reign on our schedules, as freelancers, there is quite a lot to be grateful for all year around. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, here are things that all freelancers can be thankful for.
1. Control of Clients/Work
In an office, the work one does is often delegated by managers and the workflow that passes along through colleagues. As a freelancer, however, we are able to express interest in work that we find inspiring and that will allow us to use our current skills and work on building new ones.
2. Learning Never Ceases
In an office setting, typically we need to await a promotion or prove to management that specific courses we’re interested in are warranted. As a freelancer, we all have the opportunity to continue learning, whenever inspiration strikes. If we are interested, we can take charge of our own educations and arrange things around our schedules for the time we’ll need to pursue them.
3. Our Schedules Are Our Own
Schedules, too, are taken into our own hands as freelancers. Sure, specific clients may demand a set meeting time for a project, but gone is the idea that life revolves around a 9-5 schedule. While at first, taking charge of one’s own time can be a challenge, it’s certainly refreshing to realize that when we do our work is largely up to when we put it on the calendar.
4. Personal and Sick Time Galore
Have you ever been sitting in an office, sipping tea, shivering under a blanket, and blowing your nose over a keyboard, all for fear of using coveted sick time you didn’t expect you’d need? I have! As a freelancer, one is able to take better self-care than is typically allotted in many office environments. Beyond sick-time, we are also able to work remotely from wherever there is a Wi-Fi connection. This means that many of us can fulfill our dreams of traveling the world.
Forget youth—do you know what’s really wasted on the young? Sleep. I can’t tell you how many days I’ve wondered why, having only obtained 6 or less hours of sleep the night prior, toddlers are awarded with nap time, only so I can go to another meeting about meetings. As a freelancer, we’re able to fully utilize our time how we see fit. These days, I get the amount of sleep I need, and am able to be more productive in a shorter amount of time, leaving space for a better night’s sleep, a yoga class I’d been wanting to take, or other things I made an effort to fit into my schedule.
6. Office Politics
I have many colleagues from positions I’ve held in the past that I miss seeing day-to-day. What I don’t miss however, is attempting to navigate office politics better than a first class admiral captain. Even if you’ve had the most positive of workplace experiences, there is no arguing that office politics exist and can be mentally and emotionally taxing, as well as distracting from the actual job you were hired to do. As a freelancer, we are able to define the boundaries and expectations of our clients and are also spared the typical politics that come with a 9-5 office job. (And certainly in this election year, one can do with a little escape from the stress of politics, am I right?)
Being independent is always something to be celebrated and as a freelancer, you are in complete control of your life, from your finances to the type of creative work you pursue. While sometimes, this can be hectic and stressful, it is by and large one of the most rewarding things about the lifestyle. Who else can say they gave themselves a raise or a bonus? And let’s not forget that when your work is well-appreciated by a client, you have entire ownership over feeling the pride in your work.
As you sit down to the table this Thanksgiving and take in all the last year has brought to your personal and professional life, be sure to take in how the life of a freelancer offers so much to both aspects of your life. Cheers to a great holiday season!
Allison is a former Creative Circle Account Executive, with a background in creative writing, content writing/strategy, publishing, and business development. Her world revolves around words and the relationships and interactions they inspire. Allison is now the Content Specialist at Raizlabs, a design and development firm in Boston and San Francisco.