Millennials are turning their backs on the humble 9-to-5 in their droves, drawing income from multiple streams instead. Indeed, the number of short-term, freelance work advertised online grew by 14% in just four months in the UK last year, proving that our appetite for more entrepreneurial endeavours is on the increase.
But is this avenue of revenue for everyone? Anyone who has ever dipped their toe in the fickle world of freelancing (present company included) will be all too familiar with the Freelance Fear, which is the cold feeling of terror you get in the pit of your stomach when you realise that it’s been more than a few days since you received your last commission. It goes a little something like this: Oh my god, I have no idea where my next job is coming from. It’s the memory of this feeling that prevents you from ever turning work down, so even when you get multiple offers all at once, you forgo recreational activities – you know, like eating and sleeping – just to meet those punishing deadlines, which is typically followed by yet another drought.
Sorry Dolly Parton, but I’ll have to respectfully disagree, it’s this line of work that will make you crazy if you let it. So, before we collectively forge a new way of working, one where companies will rely solely on the gig economy, let’s celebrate the underrated perks of the 9-to-5 while we still can.
Oh stability, my old friend! It’s only after you’ve experienced excruciatingly long stretches between pay packets that you can appreciate the glorious predictability of a regular wage. Of course, working for yourself means unlimited income potential, but it can also mean unlimited poverty, especially when you first start out. It’s also important to note that if you have any immediate plans to buy a property, it’s much trickier to secure a mortgage or loan if you’re self-employed.
The rigmarole of regular working hours might have been what prompted you to flirt with the idea of becoming your own boss in the first place, but from someone who is currently writing this piece at 8am on a Saturday morning, a structured working week is a blessing in disguise. Sure, you have to get up early to make your commute and, of course, sometimes it’s raining, but I doubt your boss makes you work at 11pm on a Friday night, am I right? The reality is that until you become established, prepare yourself for accepting the jobs the full-timers don’t want. I hope you like working over Christmas!
Depending on the company you work for, it’s possible to carry out that training or continued education program you’ve been dreaming of on their dollar. Visionary employers are growing increasingly supportive the concept of the intrapreneur, where traits typically attributed to entrepreneurs – such as innovation, passion and ambition – are nurtured within the confines of their company. You benefit from this arrangement by acquiring a whole raft of new skills and experience before eventually moving on to your next role.
Oh, you want to go on holiday? Well, make sure you leave enough room in your luggage for all the Freelance Fear you’ll be taking with you. If you’re anything like me, you’ll run yourself into the ground ahead of your travels in a vain attempt to make up for the loss of income while you’re away. The same goes for sick leave; no-one pays for your recuperation when you work for yourself.
While you were busy revelling in the opportunity to forgo wearing pants because your ‘office’ is now your sofa and you don’t have aircon, you might not have noticed your productivity levels slowly waning and the feeling of isolation creeping in. Sure, they might occasionally steal your food, but a sense of camaraderie among your workmates can boost motivation by around 20%.