Tuesday, February 03, 2015
As a freelancer, there is always a fine balance between doing work you want to do and taking on projects you think you need to/should do because they pay decently. I still struggle with feelings of guilt/pride/bruised ego/etc. when I think about how I now make a fraction of what I used to pull in when I worked for The Man. Are those feelings strong enough to make me consider, even for a second, going back to an office setting? No. But they're pretty much always there.
And that's how I've come to find myself in the predicament I'm in today. In my usual beginning-of-the-year panic that I wouldn't have enough work in 2015 to justify my existence, I agreed to a contract position that I knew in my gut was a bad idea. It's not even a writing gig—it's phone-based. And there are very, very few things in life I hate more than being on the phone. I'm not exaggerating: I never talk on the phone. I go out of my way to avoid making all but the most unavoidable/no-other-way-around-it calls. I don't even have a phone plan. What. Was. I. Thinking taking on this work?!?
Over the past few days I've reviewed the "onboarding" materials for this new job and the pit in my stomach has continued to grow. This is going to be a disaster, I kept telling myself.
And as if the universe was trying to confirm I'd made the wrong decision, I just found out that I've been selected as the copywriter for really cool project that I'm excited about, for a client I'm a huge fan of. It's going to take up a ton of time... and now I don't want to do the phone-based thing at all.
So what do I do?
If you're expecting me to say that I'm going to follow my heart/passion/gut/inner voice and back out of the phone-based engagement... I'm sorry to tell you that I'm not. Because this is the reality of being a freelancer: it's usually feast or famine, and so I don't want to regret dropping the phone-based client three months from now when I could really use the extra cash. I'll be smart enough in the near future to not take on anything else that isn't writing or editing-centric, but for now I've made my bed and I have to lie in it.
Though I haven't started the gig yet, my understanding of the phone-based work is that you can ramp it up as much as you'd like in addition to having periods where you tell them you're not available. So I have to at least give it a shot. It is tangentially related to a part of my old career that I enjoyed, so I have to just get these negative thoughts out of my head and approach it with a better attitude. No project I've dreaded has ever ended up being as bad as I feared it would.
And so, for now, my answer to "For love or money?" is "Both." I take things on for money in order to do the things I love. And I know how lucky I am to love any part of what I do, so I'll shut up now.