The dynamic times that we live in have invariably thrown up unconventional modes of working for those who are teeming with unbridled energy, love to don several hats at the same time yet hate to do the stereotypical. The ensuing contemporary shift from the conformist office jobs to those that let you manage your time in the manner you fancy has allowed several capable and skilled resources to chase their dreams in an unfettered manner! Freelancing as a mode of working has, thus, gained immense popularity in the last one decade thanks to demolishing physical boundaries to work and emerging virtual ones. While the ad-hoc mode of employment did exist in the past, freelancing as an option has certainly ushered in a whole new world of possibilities for those who love to work in a malleable manner either out of choice or compulsion. Here is a quick low-down on the merits and demerits of freelancing as a genre of employment:
• Flexibility-This remains, by far, the most significant virtue of freelancing. Whilst a conventional 9-5 job may be the first choice for some folks, there essentially exists an interesting tribe of talented personnel who irrefutably feel intimidated by consistency and routine, and love to work during their most productive hours, which may not conform to the hackneyed business hours. As a freelancer, one enjoys the freedom to begin and end their work day (or work night-for the nocturnal ones!) as per their convenience as long as the deadlines are being met in a timely fashion.
• Liberty to work from anywhere-Those who dread a clinical office-cubicle environment and feel that taking their laptop to a coffee shop or a nearby park is essential to unlocking their mind would excel in a flexible option such as freelancing as it gives them the privilege to choose their own workstation. So if you are one of those creative types who can only jot down a couple of great lines when curled up in your quilt with your daily dose of caffeine and your pet dog for company, this one seems to be just what the doc ordered for you!
• Geographical location becomes irrelevant-As a freelancer, one may go and work on a beach if the sinful sight of hot blondes in bikinis is essential to get their creative juices flowing! Also, the option works like a blessing for the harried lot-the fairer sex suffering from the ‘husband’s transfer’ syndrome, as they may continue with their assignments/projects regardless of the physical location they are based out of.
• Diversification of work-A freelancer, unless bound by specific contracts, may liaise with different vendors and diversify their portfolio of work. This stops a creative guy from falling into the rut that monotony and sameness of work customarily lead to. Hence, as a freelancer, you may be working for an exciting retail portal and a heavy-duty tech magnate in a typical workday and never feel inundated.
• No clear distinction between personal and professional life-As a freelancer, you may experience days when your personal life goes for a toss! The disadvantage of flexi-working remains one’s inability to expressly demarcate office time from self time or family time. Typically, a freelancer working from home may be putting a toddler to sleep, haggling with a nagging mother-in-law and line-editing an urgent article that needs to go to print in the next couple of hours-all at the same time, the fallout being professional time spilling over to the personal one and vice-versa. So, characteristically, a freelancer may never devour a water-cooler break away from the work desk, or a complete shutter-down post close of business. Working in a seamless fashion may turn out to be a shortcoming for many.
• Absence of Retirement Benefits/Key Perks-Freelancers primarily form a part of the unorganized sector, therefore remain, more often than not, bereft of several employment benefits typically offered to in-house employees, like retirement benefits, paid leaves, medical insurance cover, and provisions for PF and Gratuity. The long and short if it is that as a freelancer, you tend to be largely on your own, and the onus of planning your savings for the rainy day unvaryingly lies with you.
• Unstable Workload/Volumes-A freelancer is principally amongst the first set of folks to be phased out when the business is on a downswing and does not have work to offer. This job insecurity is not healthy, expressly so when the person in question happens to be the breadwinner of the family. Freelancers are typically not protected by any employment laws, hence the employer may not provide adequate notice tenure, and such workforce may find themselves being pinkslipped at a day’s notice during economically turbulent times.
• Loads of Spadework Required-As a freelancer, you are a one-man army and need to manage all the logistics on your own. So, when your broadband connection is down or your locality undergoes an unanticipated power outage, there is not gonna be a tech guy out their coming to your rescue and you will never enjoy the privilege of downtime-you got to get going, manage your deadlines and be a handyman all the time!
As clichéd as it may sound, every coin does have two sides, so does freelancing as an employment method. If you have been contemplating this option, it would be advisable to do an exhaustive groundwork and be absolutely sure of what you may be getting into. Happy bending of rules!