The trials and tribulations of freelancing.

Part one. The Good. 

Being a freelancer is great. As I write this, I am watching Star Wars and sitting on the couch. I have the freedom to work as quickly or as slowly as I like, I can have music or silence, or even a film. I am home for any deliveries and the house is always tidy.

Sure, this constant state of homebodiness can be wearying at times, but I was never much into offices as places to meet people anyway. Sharing the same piece of carpet isn’t grounds for a meaningful friendship.

At home, there are no politics, no shared fridge or mysterious unwashed dishes. There’s no chain of command and no frustrating middle management to negotiate. I don’t have to pretend I have more work than I actually do to avoid getting lumped with too much and I am not mindlessly engaging in busy work to give the illusion of being productive.

Working from home enables me to indulge my hobbies and interests on a whim.

If I have a good idea I can act on it, whether it is a song idea, a piece of writing or taking a nap. There’s always coffee in the pot and lunch is no longer a 30-minute walk around the city to find something I am not tired of. I don’t have to cram into an overcrowded Melbourne train to get to and from the office, sit in the same seat in front of the same computer and next to the same people having the same conversations day after day. Dictating my own work hours and terms and having the freedom to decide how I think something should be done is a remarkable feeling.

Buy a lunch. Buy a coffee. A pack of gum. A train trip. A bottle of water.

The amount of money I spent working, not just at my last job but practically every job I ever had, was more than I ever cared to take the time to calculate. Once I dispensed with the commute, the overpriced city lunches, the packets of gum, the snacks, the coffee…all the little things that make a day in the office bearable, once I dispensed with those, my day-to-day living costs dropped drastically.

Some sweet treat to make the interminable blackness of the daily grind just that little more tolerable. It starts to add up. Even a seemingly modest sum of $10 a day is thousands at the end of the year. Make that $20 a day. $20 a day with a big Friday lunch. $20 a day with a big Friday lunch and buying a book or a record or a piece of clothing on a lunch break. $20 a day with a big Friday lunch and buying a book or a record or a piece of clothing on a lunch break, plus buying dinner once or twice or thrice a week because the workday was just too much to bear and the idea of cooking feels like a bridge too far. Aside from the general Sisyphean, Operation Market Garden, Alamo-vibe of office work, they are money pits for the general employee. As a freelancer, I don’t have to indulge any of these expensive coping mechanisms.

I am sure many people like their jobs and some people even like going into the office.

But not me. That’s one of the big problems with offices. The one-size-fits-all nature of the environment. If you can work in a stuffy, noisy, uninspiring square room with 30 other scrotes, then you’re golden. I don’t think any company has ever got the best out of me and I don’t think I have delivered my best for any employer and at least part of that is never actually being set up for success. Never being asked “What is the ideal work environment for you?” and instead treated like a battery hen, with the business safe in the knowledge that there is an inexhaustible pool of people desperate for a job who can take any vacant spots in the cage,

Freelancing and working from home has instantly removed those burrs from my day.

The trials and tribulations of freelancing.

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