Here’s a rant, one of my firsts… on this blog anyway…
Freelancers are considered jobless… Yes, they are. Yes, so are you, you who’s reading this blog, working from home and managing your own blog or website, and handling two and a half kids and a dog. Yes, our lot is considered jobless. Why you ask? Because we work from home, not a place like a regular overstuffed office, or a regular pigeonhole sized cubicle or a closet sized cabin, but from the comforts of our bed, or couch, or the floor. Also because we work when we feel like, because we don’t have weekends and holidays off, we don’t have weddings, anniversaries and doctor’s appointments to carve out of our busy lives, because everyday is a holiday for us. Yes, we work at our pleasure meaning thereby that we don’t work at all, because obviously working means you gotta do a 9-5 thing everyday. It doesn’t matter that we work mostly graveyard shifts after we’ve taken care of all our household chores and the whole world is asleep. Just like it doesn’t matter that you’re nursing a bad knee and can’t sit up, so you’re lying down and working from your bed because the deadline for a project is looming over your head.
Oh, and most importantly, we don’t work because we can take endless holidays and offs whenever the heck we want, because obviously a freelancer has free time all the time, right? Riiiiiiight!
I have a serious beef with people who think that we freelancers/bloggers don’t work because we can take work when we want and how we want. Such people have generally never worked in their lives or are too buried in their office jobs that they cease to think that work exists outside of an office cubicle as well, or are self-important dimwits (pardon my language but I’m mad…very mad). I may be generalizing here but that’s just been my experience. So, apologies to those who fall in this category.
Like recently, someone commented ‘oh you shouldn’t have a problem coming here anytime, you don’t have to work everyday‘… I stared for two seconds at her face before I blurted out ‘don’t presume to understand what my work is like‘. Rude much? Yeah, but she had it coming.
We freelancers may not have fixed hours of work but we work as much as those who work at offices, sometimes more when there’s a deadline coming or when a work is urgent or simply when you haven’t been able to work at your project the whole damn day because of some domestic exigency. On a typical day I start work at around 7 in the morning and barring those times when I have to cook, clean, attend to my daughter, and workout a bit so my aching knee gets back back into shape, I’m always working, come rain or shine, weekdays or weekends or special days. My off days are governed by when I don’t have projects at hand or when there’s a calamity, during which I also have to take care of unfinished business, pay the bills and take care of my social engagements. Should I be considered any less working than an office going woman?
Then why should someone presume that a freelancer’s or a blogger’s time is dispensable? All you freelancer/blogger-haters freelancing and blogging takes time, care and a continued effort to look for new business and build it too, because it IS a business. We are our own managers, officers, employees, marketing agents and PR personnel… That’s a lot of roles wrapped into one body. Then how, pray tell me, are we less busy than our office going counterparts, if not more?
Then there are some who presume we can work from anywhere possible… Like one friend (I dearly love her but couldn’t help but cringe at her remark) who told me that I should carry my laptop while I’m at a family wedding so I can work from there if need be. While part of the charm of freelancing is working anytime, anywhere, that just isn’t as easy as it sounds. There are some situations and places where you just can not work. Like weddings, celebrations, week long vacations where your family expects you to be not just physically but mentally present as well. Can you imagine working when all your chums and mates are partying just outside the room? No? I thought so…. I’ve tried to take work to one such occasion, kid in tow, and discovered that working at night when you’ve just returned from a day long get-together of dear ones makes you wish you never took the vacation in the first place.
Then there are some who commit writing-blasphemy by telling a freelancer or a blogger – ‘What do you do? All you do is just write. How hard can that be?‘ No, no one’s had the guts to tell me that to my face but a fellow blogger did. I can’t imagine what I’d do to that someone who dares to tell me that. I imagine I would chew them up whole and not even spit out the bones.
The point of this rant is… work is work, no matter how minuscule, no matter how lowly, no matter for how short or long a period of time. Work is not defined by four walls and a computer infront of your face. Neither is it defined by a salary slip or a tax deduction, or the amount of formal wear lined up in your closet. You could be working in your PJ’s or when you’re on the pot or when you’re on a date. You ought to be respected for the fact that you are working, and not sitting idle like some. Not even hous fraus deserve to be called jobless. Maintaining a house, especially with kids, is a gigantic, near impossible task. I’ve been one for nearly seven years now and there are days when I miss my office days and wish I was working at a desk rather than being surrounded by the madness at home. If your hobby is work and you enjoy it, like mine is, that doesn’t make it any less work-y, so don’t let anybody tell you that your work isn’t work. In fact, you’re one of those lucky blokes who get paid for what they like to do (like I am, although dimwits like those cited above make me wish I had a normal job instead).
So, respect work and not its trappings!