9 reasons you should go freelance

by Barrie Hopson on April 15, 2013 · 1 comment

in Flexible working,New ways of working

AB5bw_miniLast week I posted a reference to kindredHQ as I was very impressed with their website and activities. I especially liked one of the blogs written by Alex Butler and as regular readers will know we do encourage guest posts. So – I am delighted to reproduce her post below along with communication references to her and to her site.

” You still need convincing that it’s worth taking the plunge and going independent?  If you are still hovering over that decision to break free, this will give you food for thought.

Organisations are often very similar regardless of their size.  Here are 9 things that we don’t miss about working for other people.

1. Presenteeism

The pressure to be at the office all the time is immense in many organisations and causes all sorts of stress to the individuals who work there. There are always some employees who seem to be there when you arrive, however early in the morning, and are still there way into the evening. They look up momentarily with a withering look as if to say ‘late again, you obviously aren’t as hard working as I am’.

I’m sure that organisations encourage this, because they can squeeze maximum hours out of your contract, even if the policy is different.  It’s just a shame that they haven’t realized that this is not the most effective way to get the best out of your employees.

2. Hierarchies

Until you work in a company, large or small, you don’t realize how important the hierarchy is.  It is a very effective tool for management to ensure that you know your place and that you do little to deviate from it.

We are still stuck with industrial age hierarchies in organisations that are based on employees coming up through the ranks and being recognized for the longevity of their career rather than their abilities.

Woe betide anyone who tries to work with another employee outside their level in the hierarchy.  And if you think I am exaggerating, just think. Even the most modern of organisations are like this, it’s just that the hierarchies work in different ways.

3. Meetings

I can remember jobs where I literally spent all day in meetings, from 8.30am to 8.30pm. And then had to catch up on administration and emails and reports that hadn’t been written over the weekend. That is if I wasn’t on conference calls then.

How can that possibly be effective?  And how often are these meetings followed up on? The answer is not often, because you literally have no time or energy to keep up.  Meetings are the scourge of the employee, and it is made worse by the fact that your company’s Outlook calendar has a default one hour meeting, which people seem to think is a target to be reached.  Even if they don’t have anything to contribute.

4. Commuting

One of the fabulous things about working for yourself is that you can organize your own day.  Personally, I am much better as the day goes on and I don’t like early meetings.  So I never organize to see clients before 10am.  It’s my little rule.  The good thing about this is that I get to travel in later and take advantage of lower fares. But the best thing of all?  Not having to put your nose in someone’s armpit.  Priceless.

5. Buzzword bingo

Every industry has its buzzwords, but there is something about working in companies that breeds laziness and verbiage.  Honestly, there have been times when I have sat in a meeting and not understood a word that was being said.  The thing is, that I don’t believe anyone else knew either; it’s just that the conversation was a series of disjointed remarks by people keen to contribute, but not knowing what to say.

6. Company IT equipment

BYOD? Forget it.  In most organisations, you are expected to use the company equipment, which is often made up of:

–       the heaviest and largest laptop possible

–       the oldest version of Internet Explorer possible

–       no useful apps

–       remote access that never works

–       I could go on.

The fact is that you spend far more time trying to get it all to work and link up than you do actually working on them.  You know what I’m saying.

7. Getting ill

See point 4 above.  All that commuting means that you are constantly picking up colds and viruses from your fellow passengers.

I also remember seeing a specialist environmental report done in one of the organisations I worked in where they took samples of the air quality and the germification of the office.  You don’t want to know. Honest.

8. Time to think

See 1 and 3 above.  You barely have time for a home life or sleep, let alone time to just ‘be’. It’s not a luxury of course, it’s really important time to create, to problem solve and to enjoy life.  Not important at all really ;-)

9. Group think

Of all these points, this is the one I am very glad to have left behind.  The cult-like oppressiveness of corporate life, which leaves you with no latitude for individual thought or ideas.

And it is this very culture that often keeps people working in these environments because the culture envelops you and persuades you that there is no real alternative. It takes a very brave individual to break free.

Have we persuaded you?  What’s your experience? Share it with us in the comments section below.”

www.kindredhq.com   @kindredhq on Twitter   www.facebook.com/kindredhq

I know that not all portfolio workers are freelancers but many of us are and even if we are not we tend to think like them!


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Lee Stevens April 15, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Great Post.

However, beware of the hidden danger which is actually being a long term freelancer!

For example, meetings, I have found what happens with bigger companies, (who don’t really care how much they are paying you sometimes), is that they like to “have you around” or it would “be useful” for you to be in a meeting.

This happens, especially if they can never recruit your skills full time, so they lean on the freelancers heavily.

Love the point on BYOD.

How annoying is it that you often have to have one of their email addresses also.

I know these all point to “not” being a freelancer, but having done this for years, It DOES happen!

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