Get yourself a proper job.
Chatting to a friend yesterday evening who hasn’t quite made the leap for independence, we talked about one of the side benefits of living a freelance existence.
If you’ve been here before you’ll know that we are huge exponents of the many advantages of not having a fixed 9-5 job, but going with your own rhythms and choosing to work with clients that you like.
But we rarely talk about the completely different view that you have of the world around you when you work for yourself. Right now, I’m blogging from a café near my home in London’s suburbia.
I realise that I have reconnected with my very local community.
I’m surrounded by people who I’ve got to know as a direct result of working for myself, and although I’m tapping away at my laptop, I know that I’m amongst people who are looking out for me.
There’s the writer, who arrives here every day at the same time and orders his Café Latte. And an actor, who is a little bit famous actually, if only I could remember his name. There’s the plumber who pops in occasionally for a spot of lunch and there’s an interior designer who brings in very interesting clients.
If I get out for some exercise with a walk in the Park, I see the same dog walkers, and the Personal Trainers, the landscape painters and the other odds and sods who are muttering away to themselves, like me, in their own worlds.
What a wonderful, layered, diverse world. And whilst I’m describing an area of one of the busiest cities in the world, it feels curiously safe and intimate. Like I’m part of the family.
We dread loneliness as freelancers. It’s why many of us choose to work with others some of the time. Yet my experience and that of many others is that if you choose to, you can swop your dreadful morning commute in the armpit of a stranger on the tube for a life where you decide who you want around you. You start to relish diversity rather than the cult of the company. You become much more outward looking.
My friend and I laughed at the expression I would have used many years ago, when working independently wasn’t the norm. People would have said ‘haven’t these people got jobs to go to?’ The implication was that it clearly wasn’t a proper job unless you were invisible to the outside world during the day.
Oh how things have changed.