Why Everyone Should Do Freelance Work Early in Their Work Life

Remember Y, regarding whom I wrote about in an earlier post? Turns out, she’s not the only person behaving that way at the company, and perhaps being that young, she’s been badly influenced by a few other senior members.

Just a couple of days ago, an administrative staff was trying to assign a new project to someone. She asked Y if she was going to be available after noon, and I was expecting her to say yes because the day before, she told me she will be free in August. But she said no. The admin lady said she didn’t want to ask person X because that person frequently replies, “Why must I do it” with a dissatisfied look. So she asked person Z and Z said, “Eh? Why me?”

That was very demotivating and I was wondering why they aren’t taking on jobs they are paid to do; why the company is paying people who don’t want to work. For me, I dislike being free at work. I hate having nothing to do. If you have nothing to do, it means the company doesn’t need you, which means you can be out of job any time. As I think back about why people have no grasp of this concept and don’t appreciate jobs that come their way, I realized they might think otherwise if they’ve experienced being a full-time freelancer. As a freelancer, not working means you get nothing for the month, so you learn to appreciate every single piece of assignment that comes in however big or small. You are grateful for the small jobs and excited about big jobs that last long enough to ensure you decent income.

When I was doing full-time freelance work, all people could see was that I can work any time and anywhere I wanted. All people could see was that I traveled somewhere every month during that time of my life and could do my assignments as long as I had a computer and Internet connection. That was true and that was a wonderful life I’d give anything to experience again. But people don’t see how much work I was taking in and how much time I spent working even when I traveled. I never turned down any assignments unless the turnaround time makes it difficult for someone of my skill level to produce decent quality work. I began work as soon as I wake up, often having my first meal of the day after 3pm. Depending on the deadline, I sometimes woke up at 7am in the morning just so I could submit the assignment by 9am. More often than not, I worked past 11pm. Sure, many of you do. But I do that 7 days a week, and when I see that my assignments are about to finish, I go out to get more assignments before the existing ones end. And I am grateful for that because the more work I get, the more income I receive.

Every time I receive an email about a job assignment, my face lights up because that means people acknowledged my work and want my service and that also means I get more pay. When I want to take a break from work and turn on the TV, I often also recall that an hour spent watching the TV is an hour not receiving income, so I turn it off and get back to work. When I traveled somewhere, I always have to lug my computer along because I have to work every day. At guesthouses and hotels, I wake up at times when other guests are still asleep. More often than not, I don’t leave the room before noon because I have assignments that I have to complete by then. Sometimes, while others are enjoying their after-dinner talk, I have to return home early because I have assignments to submit. Once, I worked so much that just seeing a computer monitor that’s not even powered on made me nauseated. It was so bad I had to ask my client to give me a week’s break. That week, I couldn’t even stand looking at my phone or any screen for that matter.

Now, I work at two different companies for a total of 6 days a week, and I still have other freelance work. I sometimes feel like turning them away because I feel like I need a break. But I don’t turn them away mostly because I know that once these work find someone else, it will be difficult to get them back when I need them, so I work into the night. It is easy to get complacent when you’re there, but it’s always important to not forget your beginnings. What if one day, the company decides to tell you they are letting you go? Will you then start begging and assure them you will accept every job from now on? That may be too late by then.


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