Where do you picture yourself when you think of a perfect job — is it a modern open space office with the best view over the city or your couch with your lovely pets around? Well, maybe you own an art gallery, but that would be another article. Meanwhile… it’s a growing trend that many people choose freelancing over the office job, moreover, see it as a long term solution.
According to the first-ever European freelance EFIP survey, the main reasons for choosing an independent working style are the flex working hours, freedom in choosing the project, the location, going “own boss” and having a better work-life balance. The survey says that freelancers count for 7% of the total workforce, while in the US, 35% of the workforce work independently. As per the FIA report, younger generations are more likely to freelance, where the percentage of Gen Z freelancers outruns Millennials by 13%.
No doubt freelancing seems to be a burning topic. We hear millions of stories about digital nomads, tips on finding your first freelance job, and yet, nothing about people switching to the opposite. It may sound like the scariest transition ever, right? While for many, it turns into a success story.
With the highest curiosity of mine, I decided to interview those heroes and find out how they marched over a dark and unknown bridge. I was lucky enough to talk to Software Engineers, a Content writer, and a DevOps engineer. We talked about the challenges they have faced and what they found beneficial in this transition, Pros and Cons didn’t go unseen. Let’s dive in:
A tiny change without a challenge? Never heard!
#1. Finding your dream company
Finding the right company where you can apply all of your skills and be happy with the pay can be the first struggle you face.
#2. Public transport & traffic
To the office and back home. If this goes by default for many of you working in an office, it can be annoying for a freelancer, hmm, to most of the freelancers I interviewed, well at least in the beginning.
#3. Even if you dreamed of becoming an astronaut, open space might be scary
Whether it’s a content or a code you’re writing, it can be scary as hell to be seated in an open space of about 100 people, who would pass around throughout the day. Goes without saying that you need to improve your concentration skills since it’s also very distracting. Who relates?
#4. Fixed schedule
Being a freelancer means you might choose to work at night times, while getting back to the office routine, you have to revisit your alarm settings. You’ll probably guess that spontaneous coffee breaks with a friend will stop being a daily thing.
#5. Coffee distractions or keeping the balance between work and socializing
For the one and only DevOps engineer I interviewed, it was quite a challenge to be able to concentrate on the task with an already dying deadline and still dedicate time to socialize with coworkers during office hours. Guys, coffee or tea?
#6. Mastering negotiations
Whether you are a content writer, like one of my interviewees or your tasks are strongly dependent on your co-workers, you will need to level up your negotiation skills. Still being a very talkative person, it was not easy for her to “make” others speak when working on her article content. Eventually, she found out the way to everyone’s heart. You’ll need a little bit of effort here, maybe treating with pizza will help?
Yet, you may benefit from:
#1. Stability in terms of projects and finances
When taking on an office job you will skip the process of searching for a new client every once in a while and feel more stable with your monthly payments.
#2. Being right there
When working in a company you have the chance of getting a clearer picture of Company status, where it goes and what problems it may face.
#3. More interaction more fun
Well, it’s not only about making friends with bright people and being in the center of professional events but also about improving your social and technical skills, which might be a bit less common when working with remote teams.
#4. Fixed working hours can be beneficial
Usually, the remote working time might be widely distributed throughout a day, meaning you will not have a continuous free time. As one of the interviewed developers mentioned, you’re in “always-on” mode when freelancing. While at an office job, it becomes easier to manage the time since there is a bold line between the work and the resting time.
#5. Better in person
Some situations get solved much easier when there is real communication, be it a career promotion topic or another burning issue which needs a “human touch”. As another developer pointed out, the feedback loop is shorter than in remote companies.
#6. Perks and benefits
Paid vacation, days-off, remote working days and sick days, insurance, stock options, team-buildings, membership cards, free lunch, and snacks. Nice to have, isn’t it?
Without a doubt, some of the listed advantages might appear to be a disadvantage to you or another person, or maybe you didn’t even notice a single shade of a challenge among the listed ones. Quite predictable, we are all individuals with our own perceptions and experiences. Some say freelancing is a lonely business or being alone is a common occurrence for freelancers. Same, as it’s a debatable question, whether the office badge makes you more engaged and boosts your social interaction or it brings no changes. Like if we talk about your time management, this way or another, you have to manage your time. Regardless of the working style, you should think well about what to invest your time into and how to benefit from it.
Be it a promotion, an office job or a remote one, a relocation or a fundamental career change you will step into another reality and embrace yourself in a storm of Pros and Cons. Let’s see what we recap on this:
- Stability in terms of projects and finances
- Job perks and benefits
- Amazing people to work with
- A lot of networking and fun
- Engagement and involvement
- Solving problems in person
- Having a better picture of the company
- No time trackers
- No day&night missing meetings
- Self-growth opportunities
- Finding a fit company is hard
- Traffic and public transportation
- Low income
- Less authority in choosing your boss
- Less learning in tech
- Fewer chances to improve your second language
- Too much coffee destructions
- Less time spent with family
- Less freedom and flexibility
- More negotiation needed
- Noise, noise, noise
It doesn’t really matter whether you’re in Thailand grabbing your suncream or sitting by your office desk enjoying the last sip of your 2nd cup of coffee, you still have to do your job. A great motivation, right?