There are a few questions we hate being asked in life. For me, that includes “what’s for dinner?” (I don’t know, you tell me!) and “what do you do for a job?”
It’s not so much that I don’t want people to know what I do during the day, it’s that it can’t be summed up in to an acceptably short sentence so I end up mumbling about marketing and websites and other stuff on the side. All I end up doing is making it seem like I do no work at all. What I SHOULD be saying is “I’m a freelancer” but I’ve found that for a lot of people, particularly older people, this doesn’t seem to cut it. They don’t realise that the internet can provide a source of income. You can see it on their face, hear it in their voice as the conversation carries on; I don’t do any work in their eyes, I’m lazy, I sit at home all day and surf the internet.
I’d like to clarify that I am pretty proud of the work I do and I’m not that worried about what other people think of me. Sometimes though, when you have been told FAR too many times that X large supermarket/department store would hire you, it’s time to have a good old rant. What better place to do that than the internet? (don’t answer that…)
So, what do I do? In the last 6 months I have, amongst other things, rebuilt and/or repaired a number of websites, worked in social media and online marketing positions for two companies (and possibly a third very soon), done some photography, offered IT advice to businesses, built and run an advice site for teenage girls (which you can see here. *Shameless self-promotion*), taken on 8 chemistry tutoring students, filmed and edited videos for online platforms and written website copy. As a part of these jobs I have been airboating, I get to go camping to a place that rarely gets visited, I have met some incredibly inspiring people and personalities, spend every day learning exciting new things, and on top of all that, if I don’t feel like waking up before 8, I don’t have to.
Being a freelancer is great for people like me who get bored easily because you are doing something different every day, it means that you can charge whatever you want (that job seems like it will be painful, I will charge you an extra $10 an hour), you can work whenever and wherever you want (excuse me sir, I just need a little more elbow room in this squishy aeroplane seat so I can go to work), and if you don’t like the sound of a job, you can just say no . While the work isn’t quite as consistent as a 9-5 office job, I’m loving it. I enjoy going to work every day (or not going to work) and I’m doing stuff that challenges and inspires me, it draws upon my creativity while requiring a certain level-headedness.
There has been a lot of chat about the stigma surrounding the word “freelancer”, and in particular online freelancers lately (at least within my circles). I think it is time that we start to truly recognise the power of the internet. When you realise that someone can and is making millions a year through advertising by posting videos of themselves talking to a camera on the internet, I think it starts to hit home. Unfortunately, a large proportion of our older generations are yet to realise this, so for now I will have to continue to endure conversations about how Woolworths is always hiring…