Monday, June 3, 2013

Freelancing

It finally happened. I lost my place in my wardrobe. I had to go through ALL of my previous posts on this blog because at some time during my hiatus, my system of moving blogged shirts into a "done" drawer had broken down and I couldn't honestly remember if I had worn this shirt already or not.

Turns out I hadn't. Whew.























I believe that this is the last of my Red Vs. Blue/RoosterTeeth shirts. Tex was a mysterious character introduced late in Season 1 and, although affiliated with Blue Team in Blood Gulch, maintains a freelancer/mercenary status for the rest of the series (according to the Wiki). Tex is also the first female character brought into the series (besides Sheila, the tank) and, to begin with, the most lethal, competent, and relentless agent. This becomes a common set of traits among the freelancers. In a way, the Freelancer Project in RVB is the perfect device to illustrate the difference between agents with team connections and those working without social supports or safety nets.

I can't say that I've ever been a proper freelancer. I think to make a claim to that, I would have to be gainfully (and solely) employed as such. I do stuff I like to do to some net benefit but, whether it stems from an inherent fear of failure or a practical need for traditional, reliable employment, I've always relegated these activities - writing, acting, knitting, photography - to a category more akin to an organized hobby than a life priority. It doesn't mean that I don't try to create something meaningful when I do make the time for these things, just that I like to keep the things I do for fun, "fun".

Besides, although I consider myself to be a fairly optimistic person, I don't think that I could handle the rejection, criticism, and rebuilding that seems to be a given in the world of freelancing.



These sorts of ouroboros-like existences hold no allure for me and that's probably the best indication that I'm not cut out for that life.

Now, my quandary for readers today is: if we were to remove the requirement of cost-of-living monetary compensation or viable career from the definition of "freelancer", how many of us could call ourselves "independent [fill in the blank] contractors" or a "freelancing [fill-in-the-blank]? If you could monetize a hobby, what would it be? What skill is it that your friends look to you for?

For example, in certain contexts, I am a fairly organized person (although not in terms of my t-shirts today, obviously) and to a large extent, I really enjoyed planning my own wedding (the largest and most involved event I've ever planned) so the hubby and I discussed what my life as an event planner could look like as we drove back to Vancouver from the Valley a few weeks ago. After weighing a number of factors, we figured out it could never work as a business because I would have to insist on a "no-crazy" clause, even (especially) temporary-totally-caused-by-upcoming-event crazy. With this deal-breaker in place, I would be setting an impossibly high standard for most brides, grooms, and their families. But I still like event planning. So I'll help friends out, problem-solve with them, and brainstorm themes, decor and all sorts of DIY awesomeness if called upon. This approach also deals with the second issue we identified in the business plan - pricing. I could see event planning as one of those past-times that I'd feel awful to be charging for if I was having a great time doing it and which no amount of money could compensate me for if it all goes sideways. Getting paid isn't enough. Satisfaction is the key. Just off the top of my head, I know people who could realistically be identified as freelance chocolatiers, herbalists, florists, model designers, pastry chefs, artists, composers, therapists, or editors ... IF we determine that getting paid isn't a requisite. They pursue these avenues because it's what they do, it's what they need to do. In re-defining the term, "freelancing" isn't about freedom from a commitment to an employer or workplace, it's about a commitment to yourself.