The events of 2020 created irreversible change in all of our lives. For those of us whose lives revolved around office culture, the shift to working from home was dramatic. When schooling at home was introduced, things became even more bonkers (for those with kids). As the dust settled though, the realities of how work could actually be, were revealed. The 9 to 5 grind started to lose all relevance and literally nobody is giving up the extra hours a day they now have, not having to get ready and commute.
So what are the possibilities ahead of us, now that we live in a brave new version of the world? For many, the recognition that work does not have to be a fixed and vague 40 hour commitment is exciting. Not having to deal with office politics, distractions and oh the endless pre and post meeting time wasting is a revelation. The joys of a Zoom meeting with your camera off right! Not everyone can transform their work life but there are definitely options for anyone willing to think creatively about it.
Maybe you’re in an office job now and considering ‘freelance freedom’. Or you’ve been freelancing for a while and are thinking about ‘getting a job’. Whichever path you choose, it’s important you understand and believe in your decision, otherwise day-to-day existence becomes a very hard road to travel.
Many change from one to the other as a means of escape and the belief that anything must be better than what’s in place today. This is one of the great career misconceptions. Each offer their own versions of freedom and both need time and perseverance to eventually look like the career you wanted. The first step is to ask yourself a few simple questions and see what is revealed to you.
What about your current work is making you unhappy?
If you change, what do the improvements look like? Identify if the problems are about time, money or passion. Look at what you have now and what your alternatives might be. An office job might pay well and have great benefits but if it’s making you miserable, are the money and the package really so important? Write a list detailing what your ideal life looks like. Consider how much money you need, how you want to use your time and what your options are. This is the first step towards creating your ideal life.
Talk to someone who is happy with their work life
Finding someone who is already doing the thing you want to do is wise. Invite them for a coffee or a Zoom call and ask them what they did. Getting a sense of what their life is like will help put some reality into your ideas. Then you can decide if that seems like a better option than what you have today. Most freelancers will tell you they work really hard and even though it can be financially challenging at times few would give it up because they get to spend the majority of their days doing what they love, which far outweighs the financial benefits.
What are your financial values?
Of course we all need to eat, have shelter and be connected in the world. All of that indeed takes money. But how the money comes to you is just as important as how much there is. Coming to terms with your financial values is crucial. Some people need a rainy day plan and others are ok with less security. Map out a budget that details everything you need money for: from daily expenses to indulgences, insurances and plans for the future. Are you covering this budget now with your current income? How would an alternative income help you achieve those numbers? Maybe you only need to charge three clients a week a few hundred dollars each to get the ball rolling. Unless you become really engaged with the numbers in your life you’ll never know what you can achieve or how to go about it.
It’ll all work out, but only if you work at it
The truth is - and we are all intimately familiar with this concept now - that anything in your life can be changed. You just have to be prepared to deal with the outcomes. A blind assumption that ‘it’ll all work out’ is foolish. Make an informed decision that you believe in. Be diligent and patient, and THEN, more often than not, everything actually does work out.
This is an edited version of a post previously published on twago.com