I have never had a full-time job. Yes, I have had opportunities to take a few up, but I’ve been too choosy about the jobs that have come my way. My father thinks I should only concentrate on writing (it is the one interest, that has stood the test of time) - to not try and make money out of it, but simply for the beauty of it. My husband thinks I can’t take up a job ever, because my interests are intense at first, but then, fleeting. “Aren’t you a bit fussy with your job hunt?”, he’d ask me. I’ve now given up job-hunting. Its not for me!
I know friends who can’t breathe properly if they don’t get a daily dose of some social-networking at work; I also know friends who are stay-at-home moms, and wouldn’t have it any other way. I yearn for both ends of the bargain. My being, therefore, exactly and aptly defines the being of a freelancer. Our times have already been revolutionized because of the internet, which continues to weave intricate webs. Could I have asked for more? I call freelancing, the best of both worlds. I get to stay at home and I get to work. An exotic combination!
Freelancing, if one manages to continue attracting projects, almost always cuts away monotony. There is a wide variety of projects so you don’t feel like an ass, much less, a self-induced slave. There is, obviously, a lot of sympathy for those who don’t have any choice but to give in to the grit of capitalism. Granted: most of us don’t have a choice.
Of course, all is not happy and gay for freelancers either. I’ve had quite a few experiences to say that most employers - when they are not binded by a permanent contract - tear your skin apart before they pay you. And paying right, is another story!
I once had a verbal agreement with a weekly paper in Pakistan to pay me a fixed amount for every piece I published with them; in turn, it was required of me to make at least one submission every week. I held my end of the bargain, and got so excited about the opportunity that I almost wrote a full-length research paper for them, divided into four topics, to be published in parts, in the course of a whole month. At the end of the month, however, I was paid for one article alone. I argued that every part held its own, and I should be paid accordingly. They argued (regardless of the fact that this article was about 6000 words in length) that it was one article after all! Fair? I don’t think so!
Among the few companies/organizations that I am working with these days as a freelancer, is an outsourcing company. They’re paying me less than what was initially committed by their representative, over a phonecall; they keep pressurizing me about the submission of projects before the deadlines strike; I compromised on the pay, and I always submit well in time. But when it is my turn to expect a payment, they pay, but they take their time - the time in which I keep inquiring, to the extent that I’ve now earned myself a repute. I recently declined a project they sent my way: the text of the email read, “Let me know if you’re interested.” I told them I wasn’t. And here’s part of the reply I got: “Aapka nakhra zyada nahin hai?” (Translation: Aren’t you a bit too fussy?)
Copyright (c) 2009 Saadia Malik