Friday, April 17, 2009

A Fussy Freelancer

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

9 comments:

Abdul Sami said...

hence why companies world over spend so much 'chasing payments'... and having a legal team and all that...

ps.. your signature says copyrights 2008... ;)

Abdul Sami said...

and i think u hav every right to be fussy over what you do !!!

Onkar said...

Very well-written piece. When it comes to creative work, exploitation seems to be the order of the day.

Saadia said...

Chasing payments reminds me of EMI - a flop Indian movie but enjoyable nonetheless. They hire thugs for loan-recoveries, and I'm sure that happens too! Thank you for pointing out the error...will be correcting it now.

Onkar, have you had similar experiences?

Abdul Sami said...

thugs to receive payments is something that is used by even high prestige organizations all around the world... !!!

Saadia said...

I learn as I grow...

slmnhq said...

You should have replied: "I am no more fussy than you are ungrateful".

How do we know said...

aah.. tell them.. haan hai, to?

Razz said...

Yeah, you just get right back at them for that reply. This is quite common and ideally should be deal with legal representation.