A Dozen More Good Reasons to Freelance
Someone recently asked whether I would recommend the shift from full-time employment to freelancing. In support I offered all kinds of general stats, but none generated much interest. Then I remembered my old social psychological research, namely the “fundamental attribution error.”: It held that stats are almost never as compelling or convincing as real-life examples. So, here’s another answer to the question, a dozen reasons to freelance.
1. Because someone else controls your destiny, no matter how competent you are
Professor Amanda Watson, who studies media, said Lisa LaFlamme’s dismissal speaks to the problem of economic precocity — the risk of losing a job despite significant success over a long career — and because of the anchor’s sex and age. “Women were scared to see that, and also angry, because it’s a fear that we all have,” she said. Many women, she said, are asking, “Wow, if this could happen to her, how could it not happen to me in my low-profile job?” Ms. LaFlamme was at the top of her profession before being fired by Canada’s CTV network, having interviewed heads of state, and reported from countries in conflict and disaster-stricken cities. She covered the Olympics, royal weddings and the deaths of Fidel Castro and Pope John Paul II. In 2020, she won a lifetime achievement award. Apparently, her decision to let her hair go gray had something to do with being fired. (https://fortune.com/2022/08/31/canadian-news-anchor-lisa-laflamme-grey-hair-ouster-women-age-workplace/showAdminBar=true)
2. Because being monitored is creepy
Shopify employees say it's increasingly moderating Slack conversations. While embracing remote work, Shopify has implemented measures to discourage negative and off-topic discussions of the company and its plans. Before the company transitioned to remote work, Shopify’s culture was supported by typical tech-company perks. But, as the company grapples with building a culture while keeping employees productive and focused online, some employees say its open communications have become restrained. Shopify even appointed &” champions”; — or volunteer employees — to keep channels focused on their stated purpose, and to shut down conversations and whole channels that became contentious.
3. Because there are really freaky bosses out there
Better.com CEO Vishal Garg laid off about 9% of the workforce on a Zoom webinar, abruptly informing the 900 employees on the call they were being terminated just before the holidays. “If you’re on this call, you are part of the unlucky group that is being laid off”; Garg said on the call, a recording of which was viewed by CNN Business. “Your employment here is terminated effective immediately.” Those fired included the DE&I recruiting team (https://www.cnn.com/2021/12/05/business/better-ceo-fires-employees/index.html)
4. Because life is short and getting shorter
US life expectancy declined from 2020 into 2021, the country’s largest two-year drop in a century. Life expectancy declined by almost 3 years from 2019 to 2021 to 76.1 years, the lowest since 1996, according to the CDC. It was the second time in a century that US life expectancy declined for two straight years. Beyond Covid, other causes are chronic diseases and suicide.
5. Because companies change their minds and leave you holding the bag.
As Wall Street firms struggle to keep top talent, Goldman Sachs isn’t just paying bigger bonuses to dissuade executives from leaving – its punishing those who do. Goldman is exploring the option of confiscating their vested stock. It is just one of the ways the bank is playing hardball with those who leave. For decades, Goldman cultivated close ties with departing executives, nurturing the corporate world’s most powerful alumni network. They often establish lucrative, second careers then enlist Goldman for advice, deals and trades. But new pressures are leading to strained exits at the banking powerhouse. (https://nypost.com/2022/02/23/goldman-sachs-takes-back-bonuses-from-ex-executives-report/)
6. Because cool companies don’t always work out
Snap is laying off 20% of its more than 6,400 employees. The team building games insideSnapchat will be severely impacted. Zenly, the company Snap bought in 2017 will also see deep cuts. So will Snap’s hardware division. Snap’s stock as lost nearly 80% of value since January. Snap hired aggressively and in May of 2021 and acquired Wave Optics for over $500 million.
But the business hasn’t fared well. It has been profitable only one year since it went public (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/31/technology/snap-layoffs-restructuring.html)
7. Because rich guys can throw your career into a tailspin without a care
Elon Must offered $44 billion for Twitter and declared the company fortunate to have him in charge. He disparaged Twitter’s executives, ridiculed the company, complained about the product, and insulted its 7,000 employees. Twitter’s stock plunged more than 30%. Now he wants out. With each tweet, Mr. Musk has eroded trust in the company, hurt employee morale,
scared potential advertisers, emphasised its financial difficulties and spread misinformation. (https://abcnews.go.com/US/elon-musk-adds-reason-termination-twitter-deal/story?id=89059081)
8. Because you really can work from anywhere as a freelancer
There were 35 million digital nomads in 2021, and the number of digital nomads in the US has grown over the past couple years—from about 5 million in 2018 to more than 11 million in 2021. The average digital nomad is 32 years old. 70% of digital nomads work 40 hours per week or fewer. 80% of digital nomads stay in one place between 3 to 9 months, and 66% stay in one place between 3 to 6 months. The average income: $119,423 a year. (https://nomadsembassy.com/how-many-digital-nomads-are-there/)
9. Because freelancers probably do better than you think
Freelancermap.com asked their freelancers: Do you earn more as a freelancer than your colleagues working a full-time job? 59% of freelancers told us that they were earning more than their counterpart person working a full-time job and 11% of survey respondents break even with employees. Only 12% of freelancers said they were earning less than their employee colleagues. (https://www.freelancermap.com/market-study)
10. Because it might surprise you how well freelancers can do in a recession
About 78% of business leaders say they’ll more likely hire freelancers than full-time employees while economic conditions are uncertain, according to a survey by Fiverr. Also, with economic uncertainty growing, 85% of US companies say they’ll implement a hiring freeze during the current downturn, and 78% may lay workers off. (https://www.fiverr.com/news/fiverr-business-data-aug-2022)
11. Because avoiding office politics is worth something in our mental well-being
Resentments could increase as companies welcome another round of office returns in September. Comcast, Apple and Peloton are pushing to significantly boost head counts in offices after Labor Day. “Tension is a real risk with this group,” says Professor Kristie Rogers, “If we’re not paying attention to those who have been around a while, making sure that their
efforts were valued and continue to be valued, there could be some division that undermines the purpose of bringing people back in the first place.” (https://www.wsj.com/articles/these-workers-were-the-bosses-favorites-now-they-feel-jilted-11661977719)
12. Because you never know when lightning will strike
In 2005, Facebook approached Choe with a proposition. Sean Parker, president at the time, asked Choe to paint his famous murals on the office walls for $60,000 or company stock. Choe took the stock, and when Facebook IPO’ed, Choe made about $200 million. The murals are still in the Facebook offices today. “They carved the walls out and they shipped them to every single Facebook office in the world — so they’re everywhere now” Choe said. (https://abcnews.go.com/Business/facebooks-graffiti-artist-david-choes-life-unchanged-200/story?id=15543816#)
Viva la revolution!
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