In Defence of 9-5s
It seems like every single day, someone pops up on my Twitter timeline announcing they've gone freelance or self-employed or they've handed their notice in to work for themselves yay! And honestly, that's freaking awesome. It's amazing to be in a position to be able to follow your dreams and work for yourself if that's what you want to do. I'm so proud of everyone who has hustled hard to get to that point and worked even harder once they start running their own business to make their dream a reality.
More and more people are taking that leap. In fact, I've seen an article reporting that 50% of the UK could be self-employed by 2020 (source). Mad!
And while that's really great, I feel like somewhere along the line, it's become a little bit shameful to admit you're happy working a 9-5. A bit like a failure... And it makes me a bit sad because I AM happy in my career job. I feel the need to defend the 9-5 a little bit.
The biggest attraction of a full-time job is the reliability of income. This can be invaluable for graduates straight out of uni who are thrown into the real world, with bills and council tax to pay as well as that glaring overdraft that looms over you. Knowing exactly how much and when you are going to be paid can really help you to manage your money which can be crucial when you're starting out in the post student world where there's no student loan to fall back on. When you're in a job, it's likely you won't have to chase payroll for late payments like you might have to as a freelancer, it will just hit your account on payday - happy days. Plus, you'll get sick pay, holiday pay and maternity/paternity pay. Starting your own business won't always be able to provide that same financial security early doors.
work mates, after work drinks and christmas parties
Jobs can be a great source of friendships. Being freelance doesn't mean you won't ever make any friends and you have to work every single day alone, of course not. But you may have to put the extra effort in to gain those friendships when you work for yourself.
A workplace can be great for meeting people, support, venting, bouncing ideas, and just having a quick chat between meetings or tasks. There's someone there you can give you advice or help you run through a decision you need to make. There can be cake for birthdays, after-work drinks when it's been a tough week, lunchtime walks, or catch-ups in the kitchen.
Oh and of course, the Christmas parties which can be a lot of fun!
I've made some real lasting friendships from workplaces and, as someone who is naturally introverted and shy, working within a team is really beneficial for me. I'm great in my own company but everyone needs to socialise at some point!
Being employed can really help to establish a healthy work/life balance, because when you leave the workplace you can leave work behind, at least until the next day.
As a disclaimer, this is obviously not true of every job, and in some cases, you might be able to have a healthier work/life balance being self-employed than working for someone else, but I'm speaking generally here.
This balance is important for your health, and it can be much easier to 'switch off' from your work when you leave the office than when your workplace is the kitchen table or even your bed.
Oh and there's that wonderful Friday feeling.
This is really important, especially for graduates or those just starting their career. It's still true that it can be down to who you know not what you know.
Meeting people, getting to know them and learning from them is invaluable to your career.
Again, gaining contacts is not only achievable in the workplace, it just might require a bit of extra effort when freelancing.
I've met some really talented and knowledgeable people through my jobs and I've learned a lot from them too. Everyone has a unique viewpoint on things and ways of working that it can be really useful to work alongside different people to broaden your knowledge. And having contacts can always come in useful!
Your career can really help you hone your skills. In my last job, I learnt so much about design from working with the graphic designer on various projects, some of which would have been really bloody difficult to teach myself. Sometimes your company might even send you on courses or host courses internally which can really give you a skills boost.
You can learn a lot from the internet these days with websites such as Udemy, Skillshare, and Youtube, but learning from knowledgeable people in your field sometimes can't be beaten. Also, office skills, from project management to creating budgets, how to execute an event from start to finish and beyond, e-commerce, languages even - all of these are things I would not have necessarily learnt as well without my 9-5 jobs or it would have involved plenty of trial and error.
in defence of freelance
I don't want this post to seem like I'm bashing freelancers because that is 100% not the case. Working for yourself can bring many benefits, including earning more than on a payroll, flexible working, creating a business that's all yours and being your own boss. My argument is that it's not always right for everyone. I know some amazing people who run their own businesses that are incredibly motivating and inspiring. One day I'd love to go freelance, but for now, it's not the right time. I want to hone my skills, meet new people and form a solid network of friends and contacts, progress and develop as much as I can.
I think because my online community is mostly made up of fellow bloggers and creatives, I'm more exposed to freelancing than others might be. Creative skills lend themselves well to setting up your own business, more so than science or management or medical or engineering. But I am seeing more and more people taking the leap.
I'm just here to say, don't feel the pressure to leave your 9-5 to go at it alone. It can be so rewarding, but it's not the only path to success. There is plenty of success to be had working for someone else. Go freelance because it's right for you, not because everyone else is and you feel like it's what you should be doing - there's not a one path suits all.
And don't write off the 9-5 completely.