Well, You Still Need to Wear Pants…

Do you believe the world of work has changed forever? I do. Whatever the root cause of our unemployment issues; big companies will no longer create the majority of our new jobs; small and mediums-sized companies will. And many more people will work for themselves or freelance.

The stereotype of a freelancer is a geek with a laptop sitting at home on their sofa in their sweats. You might be surprised that freelancers, like entrepreneurs, come in all shapes, sizes and are from many different fields. Think for a minute of consultants; engineering, management,etc.

I have a strategic marketing consulting practice that is supplemented by teaching at the Masters level and an active speaking schedule so I consider myself both an entrepreneur and a freelancer.  As more  folks aged 50+ lose their jobs (and have lost significant value in their retirement plans) — more of us will need to find work wherever we can.

This week I had the opportunity to visit NYS Senator Joe Robach with a group of freelancers and representatives from the Freelancers Union . (If you are an independent worker, you may want to check out their site. It’s free to join!) At issue is the right for freelance workers to have the same protection to ‘get paid’ as ‘regular’ workers;  83% of freelancers have experienced delayed, reduced or non-payment. Senator Robach was very supportive of the bill.

If we are going to adapt to a global marketplace, we are going to need keep up our legal and regulatory supports for new kinds of work. Are you working freelance? I’d love to hear from you.

Photo credit: Freelance Switch.com

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2 Comments

  • By Melanie Blank, December 24, 2011 @ 8:15 am

    Deborah – great post, and I love the photo, too!

    I am an experienced tech. writer & editor, between jobs (as it were – sounds better than unemployed). I just finished a long-term contract. I’ve done occasional, small-scale freelancing, but I’m really looking for contract or direct-hire work – what I have done in the past. There are many of us out here. Fortunately, even though it costs a lot, I have COBRA health insurance for the next 18 mos., but many contractors are stuck with NONE. They fall between the cracks — income too high for many of the plans that individuals can afford. At least, contractors get paid regularly (when they have jobs.

    Every freelancer I’ve known has complained about ridiculous delays in getting paid for work that’s finished.

    Best wishes for the holidays!

    Melanie

  • By Deborah, December 26, 2011 @ 1:03 pm

    Melanie, thanks for your comments. Yes, I think that employers would like to hire more freelancers but don’t know how to separate out those that are professional and those that are slackers. Also, there’s no easy way for them to find us! I’m excited for the future where we all come together under some kind of web presence where employers can find us easily.

    I’m glad you have COBRA to cover you for now and I’m hoping that when 2014 comes, the new health insurance law will help us find less expensive insurance alternatives.
    Best wishes for a healthy and serene new year, Deb Mourey

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