So this week, the blog took some inspiration or inspo as the kids call it from the last week of February 2018 and the 1st few days of March – the week that brought us the ‘Beast from the East’! Of course the weather has been horrific for some of us but where I am in Bromley, apart from 5 inches of snow and icy roads – I think we got least from the east! I’m not here to give a weather report don’t worry. But the weather did then cause my teaching to be cancelled and time alone, which led to lots of thinking – which is never a good idea! So as always some light hearted but honest truths, this time about some experiences as a freelancer.
No Pay Today
So for 4 days, work went on hold. No teaching, no rehearsing… which to be blunt means no work, no money. Ahh the blessings of freelancing right? What I’ve found and I’m sure it has been written about before but – no one really talks about the lows of freelancing. Many people who aren’t self employed overlook the fact that for us if there’s no work then there’s no money. There’s no wage, there’s no sick pay and there’s no holiday pay. Plus we pay tax on top as we should, yes yes I know! And I say these purely as facts. So the ‘full-time employment’ crew, don’t really speak about it which is understandable, but there’s enough members of the self employed crew who know exactly what I’m talking about – so lets chat about it.
Often friends of mine ask “I don’t know how you work on a Sunday?” or “can’t you call in sick”? They say it in jest, but at the same time, they don’t quite get it. I wouldn’t call in sick, unless I was bed bound. Now Is that because I like my job a whole lot more than the typical 9-5er or because I won’t get paid? In all honestly I like teaching on a sunday at 9.45am and helping young dancers; there’s been times where I have had a hangover but miraculously teaching has completely taken my mind off of it. (I first found that out at university though, doing a dance degree meant we often had to sweat out the alcohol from the night before. Who says we didn’t learn anything?)
Is anybody there?
Freelancing is fab, I get to do what I am passionate about (most of the time…), meet new faces be surrounded by a close-nit teams, work project by project and visit amazing places. However there is another side of it that no one seems to talk about. (sigh.. self employed crew, where you at?)
Don’t get me wrong I enjoy my own company, having the freedom to embark on my journeys and business ventures, not always having to answer to someone. But sometimes it is super lonely (no matter how loud I play music). When I catch up with friends, I don’t want to sound negative and bring the gloom to the conversation and they probably don’t either so then it never gets mentioned. The most classic ones though and I’m to blame too, are those recurring flippant texts we send or recieve “Hey how you doing?”. Then we reply with that robotic auto-pilot response:
“Yeah I’m good thank you, how are you?” Next time I should say:
“Hey, I’m okay, I can’t afford a haircut, shrunk all my clothes from washing them so much as I have no money to buy new ones, went over my overdraft, had to borrow money of my mum for train fare, haven’t spoken to anyone since yesterday apart from my dog… but I found enough change in my bag for a coffee if you want to meet up?”.
If it’s someone, who is a real friend, or someone in a similar situation to you, I reckon they will understand, so go for it have a little rant – then go get that coffee!
A ‘real job’
This is a good topic. I’m gonna throw some questions out there and I want you to let me know which ones you can relate to! (comment below, send an email or direct message!)
- How long you are going to carry on before you get a real job?
- What are you going to do when you can’t dance anymore?
- How are you going to afford that?
- Why don’t you get a part time job?
- Have you thought about what you are going to do if this doesn’t work out?
- Rehearsals? I thought you was working today?
For me, yes there are ups and downs of being a freelancer and believe me it is a lot worse when you already some worries in mind – or sometimes you don’t have any doubt at all about your career choices – but someone else’s words (which most of the time generally come from a good place), make you doubt everything.
My job is my job. I have many different titles (dancer, teacher, assistant, personal trainer etc), but they are all my job. Just because self-employed, doesn’t come with organisational job security it does not mean it is any less of a ‘real’ job. I’m only 2 years into the freelance life, the start of my career – 2 YEARS. I hope to have many many years on earth. 2 years is just a drop in the ocean. On average, someone with in full time employment – how long does it take for them to progress? I’d guess 2+ years. I intend to be living, exploring, expanding, creating, learning for a long long time. Yes there are new dancers and generations making their way in and are very talented, but there are also generations above me leading the life they set up when they was my age. It will happen (for all of us), I’m sure of it, but not overnight.
Maybe this blog is more for my own justification, but I hope that some of you can relate to it and laugh at yourselves a little. If there’s more topics or situations you have found yourself in whilst freelancing whichever your field, then let me know. It would be great to share stories over that coffee I found change for!