What’s security anyway?

I got a phone call yesterday afternoon. Well, first I got a message via LinkedIn requesting the call, then I got the call.

It was from a recruiter. Offering a very (very) high paid job at a company in Boston. For those of you who read this blog regularly and saw yesterday’s post, you can join me in a good laugh here: the position was to create and manage the social media department – wait for it – for a PR firm.

I know. As an old friend used to say, you just can’t make this stuff up.

It turned out that the job wasn’t right for me, the company’s looking for someone with strong social media experience and hands-on programming experience (HTML, Javascript, AJAX, XML, etc.) Which would be like asking me if I could write and do chemistry…which I couldn’t, can’t and, quite frankly, won’t. (If this is YOU, let me know and I’ll guide you right to this recruiter!!! And don’t let the Boston thing scare you, they’re even willing to pay for relo.)

Even though that particular job wasn’t for me, we got to talking – and said recruiter was very excited about what it is that I do, how I do it and why I do it. To be honest, I was excited about my answers too. And this confirmed that it would be sorta hard to woo me away from my present situation – owning my own company, being my own boss, freelancing and the randomness that comes with it.

Let’s be honest.

An actual job has some things going for it: a steady paycheck, health insurance, VACATION TIME, SICK TIME               sorry – I’m back, I think I just fainted for a minute there.

But, and it’s a big BUT – how secure would this job really be? As it stands, my success is entirely dependent on me. It’s a lot of pressure, but at least it’s mine. I do well when I work hard, seize opportunity, smear my gumption all over people…and things like that. I do poorly when I don’t do those things. And I have no one to blame but myself. Really. Even if I get screwed over or let down by a client, it’s up to me whether I cry about it and sling responsibility (and we all deserve at least 5 minutes of this) or whether I just get up and go find another one, a better one. Companies fold all the time or it’s just not a good fit or…there are so many things that could make this opportunity crumble.*

So, what I told her was, “Of course, I’ll send my resume, but:

  • I’d be more interest in working as a contractor,
  • Or as a consultant,
  • Or on a special project for a few weeks to several months,
  • And I’d need to telecommute,
  • But I’d be happy to travel in on a regular basis.”

I’m not closing any doors. If a job-job came along that was just perfect (and had a sizable signing bonus), I would heavily consider it. As always, there is no definitive path…but there’s a helluva lot of excitement and possibility.

What about you? If you had your choice, would you go it alone or pull your chair up to a cubicle?

*I’m really not a pessimist. The other night, a loud truck with flashing lights woke me up in the middle of the night – my first and only thought was, why are they cleaning the streets at this hour? When, in fact and of course, it was a snowplow and we were in the middle of a snowstorm on March 1st. I think this is a sign of my deeply embedded optimism. (Which is why, for now, I’m putting my chips on Writing Roads.)

Image credit: Lokner

Join the discussion 23 Comments

  • Amanda says:

    I did my time in Cubicle Nation. Didn’t like it so much. When I worked as a dev for a software shop, I was the token chick. I wasn’t taken seriously because I was young. I was generally given the administrative tasks because I was a woman.

    If I had my choice between going it alone and working for someone else, I’d still choose going it alone. I get to choose my own clients, work my own hours, and meet amazing people. Working in a cubicle and being told that I must code 8 hours a day for a project that I don’t believe in or care about is hellish.
    .-= Amanda´s last blog ..Happiness is not a fish you can catch. Nor is it a pant size. =-.

  • tom says:

    great entry…got me to thinking. It’d take a boat load of cash to get me out of my jammies and snow boots, just to “go to” work…what a silly concept :)

    oj, ok, i’ll go kicking and scratching, if that boatload comes down the river, but I don’t see it happenin’ any time soon.

    As long as my current work as video director/editor/owner of http://www.reelifeproductions.com (gotta get a plug in, right?) can continue eeking out the grocery money, my part of the mortgage, continue contributing to our measley 401k $, the mortgage, utlilities….

    uhoh, maybe I should get a job!

    Thanks again for the insightful stuff.

    -Tom

  • Aaron Pogue says:

    Amanda’s spot on. I’m working the day job, and the worst part of it is toiling in tedium when I have so many amazing things I’d rather be doing.

    Not everybody’s a creative spirit, but for those of us that are, every hour spent on someone else’s project feels wasted.

    Of course, for me, I think I’d feel the same way about working freelance projects. The money would be less predictable, but the projects still wouldn’t be mine. I just settle for making the most I possibly can out of the half of my life that I get to have.
    .-= Aaron Pogue´s last blog ..Interesting Things (Technical Writing Exercise) =-.

  • Julie Roads says:

    Aaron – it’s true to some degree. At least as freelancers we get to pick and choose our clients – but still, you do have to ‘make the donuts’ before you can do your own stuff whether you’re in a cubicle or at your own desk…

  • I am trying my hardest to avoid going back to a job. I like the laissez faire attitude of my business and really hate time clocks. and neighbors who mow their lawns in March at 8:00 on Sunday mornings….
    .-= Justin Matthews´s last blog ..Do You Have What it Takes??? =-.

  • Julie Roads says:

    Justin – I’m just jealous that you live somewhere that has grass growing in March. See how it’s all relative?

  • Edgy Mama says:

    Aren’t job offers great?

    I’ve been freelancing for 12 years now. I always say as long as I get an occasional hot job offer to make me feel like I’m still a playa, I can keep freelancing happily.
    .-= Edgy Mama´s last blog ..Free tickets to new musical Spring Awakening =-.

  • Dina Lyons says:

    (Laughing) You can’t make this up, great call!
    I have been working on my own for 7 years now, but rather than yearn for someone else’s cubes, I’m beginning to consider ways in which I can expand my business. The enormous responsibilities involved with leasing a space big enough to hire help (and fund/insure that help) is really challenging to me. I love the flexibility of working for myself, for the most part (especially when small kids are involved).

  • Julie – Your feelings about working for yourself certainly resonate with me. But it is not all roses and sunshine. Although I left an agency career almost 12 years ago to enjoy the “freedom” of being my own boss, I still feel enormous pressure to perform for my clients. When I peeled off the suit and tie I expected to be able to set my own agenda and schedule. No way. Deadlines (real and artificial), meetings, etc. all continue to provide too much structure to my life. But. . . it is all worth it. Just to wake up in the morning and know that anything I do that day will be for me and not somebody else is the payoff.

    Bill

  • When I got married and moved to Denver, I took a job at a kitchen design showroom. Since I had worked free-lance for most of my adult life, I was like chum being thrown to the office politics sharks. I had no radar developed to detect who was going to try to screw with the new girl (there’s at least one in every office) and who I could count on. I finally figured it all out, but didn’t like having to put on mental armor every day to go to work.

    I now own my own company, choose my clients and set my own hours. I love what I do and can put all my energy into doing what I love.

    Working in an office environment is good for some people, but if you have an entrepreneurial spirit, it can be a soul crushing experience.

    Congratulations on being sought out by a big PR firm. That means you are doing something or everything right to get noticed. Even if you don’t wind up working with them, that’s a nice feather in your cap!

  • Paula says:

    Wow, Julie, how serendipitous that you wrote this post today since I just got home from my P/T cubicle job, where I was told that I was going to have to go from being a W-2’d employee to a freelancer (which I also do for other companies). To top it off, I also learned that one of my biggest freelance clients is now requiring that all freelancers are incorporated or they will not be able to contract with them. I had said at the beginning of the new year that I wanted to “become a real writer” this year, but I wasn’t thinking that I would basically lose all of my other work in the interim! I already downloaded your e-book, and it looks like I’ll be rereading it tonight, trying to get a handle on what direction I need to go now… Thanks for the great post, as always! :)

  • Julie Roads says:

    Paula! I love the synchronicity…I hope the ebook serves you well, and remember I’m always available for some one-on-one time. I urge you to see these events as the Cosmic Pen pushing you in the ‘write’ direction. Now, go forth and WRITE!

  • Laura says:

    I’m just now coming to freelance writing after leaving a ‘paid’ regular job. I love the freedom but am currently missing the money- and a tad nervous about this.
    I started a second blog to prepare for my new career as a freelancer, and am now doing the little penny a word gig while I build some self confidence and experience. I owe you and a few other freelance posts a lot of thanks for the nudges I get from reading your blog!
    my new blog: http://www.apageofmyown.com
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..Ever done it on a bench? A Teak Garden Bench that is =-.

  • Julie Roads says:

    Laura – I can’t help but BEG you to demand more than a penny a word – the going rate is $2. Own it, baby. Get paid what you’re worth – this helps us all.

  • Aaron Pogue says:

    The coincidences pile up. Carlos over at Conscious Me just shared this article with me today, which discusses exactly what you’re talking about, Laura (and, more importantly, Julie’s answer).

    It can be hard to believe in yourself enough to charge a fair price, but until you do, your clients can’t possibly see you as a real professional, no matter how good your work is.
    .-= Aaron Pogue´s last blog ..Interesting Things (Technical Writing Exercise) =-.

  • Julie Roads says:

    Thanks, Aaron – here’s what I wrote about it: http://writingroads.wpengine.com/2009/07/are-you-getting-paid-what-youre-worth/

    Can’t wait to check out that post…

  • Ari Herzog says:

    Hold on a second here. If I read that correctly, a people relations agency is seeking to hire someone to coordinate its social media activities? Isn’t that like a zoo seeking to hire someone to tell them how to care for animals?

    I’d love to talk to the recruiter…and explain why hiring a consultant is precisely what they need so they can do what they’re supposed to being such an agency.
    .-= Ari Herzog´s last blog ..How the Creative Copy Challenge Helps You Write =-.

  • Julie Roads says:

    You read correctly, Ari. What is the world coming to, right?

  • Andi says:

    I am one of those bizarre people that loves the corporate world. I dipped my two into doing my own business, but without dedicating to it 100% I cannot say that I would like it or not, I believe, not. My husband did it last year and I hate not having the steady paycheck every two weeks, even though he was earning more as a consultant. BUT if I could be independently wealthy and be my own boss with my own business, etc then maybe I would be ok. I hate the drumming up business/fill the sales funnel aspect of the business and I think that is a critical component for survival!

  • Ron Miller says:

    I’ve been freelancing for over 20 years, and I’ve had a few of those opportunities come my way over that time. Like you, I kept the door open, but politely refused. It’s nice to be wanted, but you nailed the problem. Companies are fickle places to work. Their priorities are not your priorities. Owning your own business has its own set of problems, but you know the boss and you can’t be laid off ever. You are subject to the same economic ups and downs, but at least you have some semblance of control. You did the right thing. We are freelancers and we are happy and successful at it. You don’t need no stinkin’ vacation pay!. :-)
    Ron
    .-= Ron Miller´s last blog ..The Ever-Changing Face of Technology =-.

  • Laura says:

    Julie,
    It’s with textbroker and I guess it felt like a ‘safe’ place to begin.. I actually get a fraction more than that and with the anticipated move up in rating it’ll increase. I don’t know that I’ll stay there long, but it is the first in what I hope will be a fruitful career. The potential is there to set my own rate with clients. It feels like baby steps for me right now
    I’d love to get $2 a word, my words are definitely worth that!

    Aaron: thanks. I’ll check it out. I guess I feel like there needs to be something on my resume first? I’ve only this week stepped out on the edge and declared myself a freelance writer!!!
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..Ever done it on a bench? A Teak Garden Bench that is =-.

  • Julie Roads says:

    Awesome, Laura! We are all cheering you on!

  • Mary says:

    I have free lanced for 30 years and gave in once or twice to taking a day job, both with environmental non-profits. I thought, how bad could it be? Let’s just say some of us are better off being our own bosses. At least if my boss does something dumb she admits it ;-) I still do occasional work with these non-profits but as a contractor, not as staff. And that’s the way I like it. A regular paycheck and benefits are very nice to have, but in the end, not worth the price of my freedom.
    .-= Mary´s last blog ..Workshop Blues =-.

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