One really great thing about freelancing through a recession is that you don’t have to worry about being made redundant. Of course, you’re at the mercy of budgets as much as the next journo, but there is something to be said for being your own boss and not having to worry about that steely possibility that you could soon be facing a life-changing moment.
It’s not that life-changing moments are necessarily a bad thing (indeed, it was a spate of redundancies at a previous job that kicked me into my best career move to date) it’s just that they are a usually very stressful – especially when the control of your life is taken out of your own hands.
Which brings me onto my next point – control. I’ve been freelancing now for a good nine months. Indeed – and bear with me on this one – that leads rather splendidly to an analogy: I’ve been carrying the foetus of freelancing, and I’ve now given birth. Because the truth is, I’m loving it. Perhaps it’s the fact that I’ve been lucky to get enough work to see me through, perhaps it’s that I’m not in a stuffy office with anyone breathing down my back, perhaps it’s because I can cook lunch rather than chow down on a squashed sandwich, or perhaps it’s just the fact that for the most part, I’m in control.
I decide what time I get up, what time I finish and what time I (note the recurring theme here) lunch. Freelancing also releases you, to some extent, from the bureaucracy and politics of the office. I don’t want to give you the wrong impression here – for, as my previous posts will testify, there is a certain amount of being ignored, late payment and managing your own (yawn) tax involved, not to mention the development of RSI from refreshing the inbox obsessively – but on the upside, at least you can blip while you process your expenses.
In other news, I was asked to go on the Radio Kent breakfast show again to talk about the rise in popularity of ethnically diverse restaurants – another nice little foray into broadcast journalism, and I was impressed by investigative journo-flick State of Play. Aside from discovering that Russel Crowe has definitely grown on me, I liked the way it reflected the conflicted but semi-dependent relationship between print and online journalism – and the fact such a high profile Hollywood thriller was adapted from a BBC series.
Rosie Birkett is a freelance journalist and sub-editor who specialises in food, hospitality and travel. She can be contacted on rosiebirkett1 at hotmail.com. She also blogs at thelondonword.com and at fiftyfourfoodmiles.wordpress.com. You can follow the series ‘Mad to start freelancing in the recession?’ series here here.