Orange may not be the new pink, but freelancing IS the new 9-5
Jayde Atchison // Opinions Editor
Valeriya Kim // Illustrator
Sitting in your Bleckberget IKEA chair that, let’s face it, might as well be a folding chair—you begin to wonder if it’s worth it to keep waking up early each morning for a job you’re only okay with.
When the world took a turn none of us were ready for in 2020, many of us lost our steady jobs and fell into an existential crisis we weren’t expecting until it perfectly blended with our mid-life crisis. If you’re anything like me, you spent too many hours contemplating what career you wanted to actually pursue. After two weeks turned into 6 months, I began looking at what my options were if my office kept its doors closed forever. What I discovered was an empire that I never knew existed: freelancing.
Sites like Fiverr and Upwork flew under my radar when I was a student, and I was so preoccupied with my day job after graduation that I stayed ignorant to other possibilities. Once I built my profile, I became addicted to setting my own hours, choosing projects I was truly passionate about and receiving grateful praise for my hard work. While there are risks involved with jumping headfirst into the freelance realm, there are a lot of benefits that office jobs just don’t offer.
Not having to commute to work, being able to work while you travel, and setting your own rates are just a few of the benefits that many companies can’t offer their employees. It turns out people like to be their own boss, who would have thought? According to a survey done on Upwork this summer, 10 million people are considering switching to the freelance field. This will have companies around the world losing talented employees.
If employers want to keep a loyal team of proficient members, they will need to step up their efforts to entice steady employees. Businesses need to start realizing that people have lives outside their job. If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that we are all capable of accomplishing quality work from the comfort of our homes. It’s time to realize that if we are having a mental or physical health day, we can accomplish our tasks from the comfort of our toasty blankets.
Workers deserve the safe space to negotiate their workload based on their burnout potential. As a freelancer, you have the ability to veto any projects that are going to push you over the edge, but you don’t often get the option to say no to a boss due to a fear of missing a step on the corporate ladder. There needs to be a clear indication of how employees are valued at the company. Offering paid sick days, the option to work from home, boundaries surrounding contact about work related topics outside of work hours, and more vacation incentives, will make people happy to work for them.
As of right now, the standards of the typical work environment are dismal because people settle for jobs simply because it’s a paycheque. This is a valid reason to take a job, and often the case for many people. However, when we keep accepting the bare minimum, businesses will have no reason to change their ways. There is a lack of motivation to head back to the office, and for a lot of people it’s never going to come back.