Many times, I would start the day with a frown on my face and simply not be ready to work. Sometimes I would just feel so down and demotivated, and it would take me forever (sometimes the entire day) to pick myself up and actually do something productive on my laptop. Truth be told, freelancing is not that glamorous and fun like some people make it out to be (#coffeefix #workbythebeach #quickhangout, etc), and along the way, like with other jobs, you miss some things as a freelancer. After all, you can’t have the best of both worlds. Here’s what I personally miss and things you can miss as a freelancer.
Having others do all the “adulting stuff” for me.
I’m talking about those darn paper works. You know, SSS, Philhealth. Uhm.. TAXES? With the kind of government we have, it takes forever to process things. Being in a corporate office might be tougher, but, at the same time, it takes some load off your hands. It’s convenient when the HR can take care of your stuff and you just have to worry about your work.
The consistent stream of income.
One of the things you can miss as a freelancer is having a steady stream of income. I’ve personally experienced being broke for months because I couldn’t find clients and I let go of several because I was focusing on “this one client”. Big mistake. Very bad move. Eventually, that client stopped giving me projects and I literally had nothing else to do. Along with that came the crippling self-doubt that my writing skills are not enough. So I would take a break. That one-day break would turn into weeks, and so on.
For months, I couldn’t go out because I literally had no money. Every time we would go out, someone else had to spend for me, like my boyfriend or my mom. And every time, I would feel so ashamed.
And when the rejection piles up… Oh boy. That’s a different story.
Having a life.
Having a home-based job is no easy feat. Most days you juggle work and housework. Some days, you ditch events and gatherings because you’re rushing to meet a deadline. Sometimes, you forget to have a life. You’re not earning much so you need to skimp on things, so you don’t go out, so you don’t spend at all.
Or you’re simply swamped with work because unlike some who “lazy around” and still earn (I’m not being bitter, just stating clear facts), all your hours are accounted for.
There’s also the part of being isolated from others, but we’ll get there in the next bullet point.
Having people around you.
As I was working earlier, I thought how fun the weekend was because I got to spend time with others. But more than that, I realized that it was because I was actually surrounded by people. And that single factor was enough to turn my world around.
Working from home, I mostly spend my time on my phone or on my laptop. When I’m not chatting with people online, I’m talking to our pets. That’s my social life 5x a week. So when I go out to events, it’s either I get really excited or get panic attacks. Haha. I can’t help it, you know? I’m just an introvert and I don’t think that will ever change.
I imagined earlier how I used to be surrounded by people back in my corporate work, whether I turned to my left or right. Now, I turn to my right and I see our window pane. I turn to the left and I see the hallway going to our kitchen. It’s all so different now.
Last Saturday, I was forced to work because I haven’t met my hours for the week yet. I blasted some good ole Jazz on the speakers and worked while my mom cooked and my brother.. well, did all sorts of stuff. There was a time that I was just working lightly while chatting with them. My mom was sitting across from me while eating rice cakes. After a while, I didn’t realize that 2 hours already passed. It’s when I realized that people make a huge difference in the workplace. When I’m alone, which is most of the time, I can feel every minute of every day. And sometimes it feels excruciating especially when You’re. Just. Not. In. The. Mood. To. Work.
Nobody is there to share stories with you. Nobody is there to cheer you up. I do my best by listening to music or watching movies while working. Or I take breaks and play with our dogs because work will always be there.
I DON’T MEAN TO SOUND SO KAWAWA BUT THAT’S HOW I REALLY FEEL. *sad reacts only*
The simple joy of finally going home.
Do you ever feel that relief once you step out of the office? You take the stairs or elevator, “log out”, and feel the “freedom” envelope you as you glide outdoors. It just feels so nice, right????? Finally, time to go home or eat out or do something you enjoy to end the day.
Well, lucky for you because I don’t feel that.
I never have that. For me, it’s just, “Well, that’s another workday done. Time to cook/fold clothes/feed the dogs!” One minute, I’m writing. The next, I’m in the kitchen, rummaging our fridge for ingredients.
Call me insane but I actually enjoy commutes. It’s when I don’t need to interact with anyone, but I can enjoy the lights from outside the bus and just go “sightseeing” or “people watching”. That’s the best part about commuting to me.
I would still enjoy it except NOW I tend to think that the person beside me is either a snatcher or a pervert, so nope. So, yeah, it seems weird, and you may not think it now, but commuting is one of the things you can miss as a freelancer, to be honest.
Some freelancers get holidays. I don’t. I know, it feels awful, right? But at the same time, I don’t really go out, so sometimes I cherish those days and just work. I especially love when it’s a long holiday and everyone’s out of the country or town, so the coffee shops are empty, so that’s when I can stay there as long as I want. Haha.
But sometimes I just want to have the same kind of privilege, you know? I want to take a rest from staring at my laptop whole day long and just enjoy the company of my family.
Not having to worry about getting clients.
We all know that freelancing is not an easy feat. But more than that, when you have no clients, you literally have nothing. I understand in the corporate setup, you also have to “win accounts”, but realize that while you’re losing accounts, you’re not really losing your job and having your income stop coming entirely. No matter what happens, there’s always some kind of work to do. Even if there’s none, you show up, do nothing, and still earn.
With freelancing, it’s a real heartbreaker when you don’t clients. It’s not like you’ll get a consolation prize for trying. You exchange several emails back and forth, but the client still declines your service or offers a really cheap and unjust rate. That’s still time wasted, my friend. With all that time, you could have already worked on something. But no, you stopped with negotiating, and nothing followed after.
No client, no work, no money. Yet the bills don’t stop coming and you have to feed yourself 3x a day. 2x if you’re that broke. Lucky for me that I’m a writer since there seldom are one-time projects for writers like me. What if you were a graphic designer? Most of the time, brands give you one-time project and that’s it. So that’s when you pitch in really hard and give your best so you don’t lose that client. But one client is not enough so you work on the project you just bagged while hunting for more clients. And that goes on and on for you. Your freelance life is basically composed of designing and submitting cover letters.
One of the things you can miss as a freelancer is having the company worry about the clients instead of you doing all the work, and then the real work after.
The freelancing market is getting bigger by the year. And I’m glad it is. But there’s still a notion that freelancers are weirdos. Or something like that. Just because you don’t have your own cubicle, you’re lower than others. And that’s just sad. Back then, I used to question my life decisions and ponder if I should just go back to working in an office since there are times that I would feel that nothing’s happening to me.
But what would I do? I didn’t want to go back to my “original career path”, it’s precisely why I left my old job. I didn’t have any other degree and I’m not looking into studying again because school is expensive AF and I don’t want to burden my mom with finances anymore.
I also tend to feel inferior from others. Despite being in a pool of freelancers, I always feel I’m always below someone. While I scroll through Instagram, I sometimes can’t help but think why other freelancers can afford constant out of town trips while I still can’t. I sometimes wonder if someone else finances their trips or their rate is THAT high, that’s why they can afford it alongside their other expenses. Or that they still continue to live a lavish lifestyle and eat at fancy restaurants despite their constant proclamation of “being broke”. But whatever it is, it’s none of my business.
So I settle with working my ass off by writing one article at a time. It’s not the most fulfilling and high-paying job, but I know I’m onto something. I know I’m going somewhere with this. I have to.
But with all these things I miss from time to time, I wouldn’t replace waking up at 10 am for crazy daily commutes, alone time for gossiping co-workers, and flexible working schedules for tight 9-5.
If you’re a freelancer, kudos to you! Keep up the good work! I know you’re doing your best and for that, I’m already proud of you, whether I know you or not.
Let’s just take it one day at a time, one working hour after another.
Bae is a 20-something passion blogger from Manila. She likes hoarding hobbies and trying out new stuff, blogging about her mundane adventures, and tweeting about random realizations and musings.