“Why Don’t You Have A Proper Job?”

In response to a question about being freelance, Kris Halpin just tweeted me a link to this video:

If you’re a musician, or in pretty much any freelance job, you’re likely to have been asked the question in the post title. Perhaps you get asked it a lot. There’s definitely an assumption in certain sectors that doing things in the arts for a living is some kind of soft option, or we do it because we can get ‘a proper job’.

But that’s nonsense, right? We do what we do because we love it, because the things we’re good at, the things we want to spend our days doing, don’t really fit into the pattern of ‘turn up at the office and do the thing described in your job description.

Often, we love it too much, and can end up being really inefficient at the business side of running a freelance business. After all, that’s just the annoying stuff we have to do to get on with the creative goodness… That’s how I end up living a lot of the time…

Today is National Freelancers Day – started by PCG, a professional association for freelancers – it’s one day a year to highlight the contribution we freelancers make to the UK, and to talk about the highs and lows. So comments are open for your experiences on freelancing:

  • have you always ‘done what you love’?
  • Did you end up freelancing after a conventional career crashed?
  • Has it got harder in the recession/under the coalition?
  • What would you change?
  • What support do you wish you had?

2 Replies to ““Why Don’t You Have A Proper Job?””

  1. Once again, my apologies for poking a sleeping post. 🙂

    I’m currently in the fetal stages of making music for money, meaning I’m still writing pieces for a release (can’t sell anything unless you write it first!) and working a rather demanding 40+hr/wk-plus-some-on-weekends exec-flavored day job.

    I never anticipated being a musician in a serious way for most of my life, but thanks to what I can only call an epiphany at the age of 44 as to how to write music, I find myself cranking out rather a lot of stuff. The “day job” I currently have is in a career that I’ve has since the mid-90s and which is extremely stable and pays well. Office, insurance, retirement, vacation, the whole works. And let me tell you up front, it is NICE.

    Currently, I’m keeping it and anticipate NOT going freelance unless it becomes unavoidable. You know, like if my music is released and suddenly the entire world beats down my door because I’m such a frickin genius. 😀

    While it’s EXTREMELY frustrating to not have the time to write that I would like, I’m not sure that would improve if I were to go full-time freelancer because let’s face it, keeping a roof over one’s head will always comprise the majority of time spent in life. I figure the time I now spend at the office would just be replaced with time I’d spend running myself as a business, so it would all end up a wash.

    And the reassurance that comes with having a good-paying, relatively stable job makes it MUCH easier to make music emotionally. I think if I were to make music full-time, I would probably be so freaked out and terrified of not having enough money to make rent that my creativity would dry up and go away totally. Money panic and potential destitution don’t seem too inspiring to me, and I live on my own, so the only money that comes in is money I make. I either draw a paycheck or I don’t eat.

    So things are going slowly for me and will probably continue to do so for the foreseeable future. That may be a strange “solution” to the idea of how to deal with money concerns and the current economy and still do what you love, but for now it’s the choice I’m making and I don’t really foresee making another. It’s a huge hassle, but such is life.

    Anyhow. 🙂

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