Thursday, August 18, 2016

What should "gig" workers call themselves?

I worked for 35 years as a freelance writer. I liked the "lance" part--a warrior fighting for good, persuasive prose. Often, though, the clients and others zeroed in on the "free" part--trying to get me to write "free" tryouts or come down in price because I was self-employed and supposedly did not have high overhead.

Sabrina Maddeauz takes up this challenge in a story in the
                                                            National Post (Canadian).

She quotes a 30-year-old celebrity photographer as saying freelance is a dirty word now--what you do between jobs.

Yet, the freelance economy is booming.  Freelancers can be anyone from a limo driver to a graphic designer.

In fact, this economy also is dismissed as the "gig" economy. Workers often make no benefits, wait to be paid, and are easily brushed aside as "amateurs."

Millennials, especially, are disrespected as spoiked jerks. They are seen as unable to survive in an office environment.

Freelancing is far from the easy way out, as anyone who had tried it k nows all too well.

Is there any way to improve the image? I used to say I was "self-employed" sometime. Or I was an "independent writer." A friend of mine who had a medical consulting company for many years, had a separate bank account for it, hassled with that, she had checks written to her company name--even though she was never an LLC or corporate entity legally.

I also used company names from time to time--don't know what difference it made.

All freelancers can do is stand tall, insist on their worth, ask for advances on jobs, don't beg, don't cringe, be assured and businesslike.

And be patient. I can't tell you how many people who dismissed me later went broke or died.

So take up that lance--you are hired in the cause of good.

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