Think before you take that job

Maybe it’s the weird economy, maybe it’s the weather, maybe people have become risk averse. I don’t know but some current trends are unsettling for me. My people, my tribe, the freelancers– are taking full time jobs at (inside) companies. Let’s compare independent consulting and being an employee. And yep, I’m going to take this to the extreme just to get you riled up.

Independents have control over their bodies.  You decide where you want your body to be at any given time during the day. If your face wants sun shining on it, you can take it to the park at 6am, 10:12am, 1:44pm or dusk.  You can also go to your kid’s soccer game at 3pm on a Wednesday or get them out of school to have an ice cream cone…whenever you want.

Employees get paid for “butt in seat” time.  I don’t care how progressive your new boss claims to be. S/he will want your ass in their ergonomically correct chair from 8am-5pm with a whopping 30 minutes of “free time” during the day. You get to ask your boss if you can be with your child during business hours and hope that they approve it. They’re going to pay you to have control over where your body is, what you do with it and for how long. This reminds me of something….

Independents pick their projects. Think that client is an ass hat? Walk the other way.

Employees get to work with whoever is on your team at any given moment. Have fun working with “I’m not going to do anything and take credit guy” or “I’m going to crunch ice in the cubicle next to yours for 6 out of the 9 hours we’re here every day guy” or “you’re new, we’re blaming you for everything that goes wrong for the next 6 months guy.”

Independents choose where to work. You can set up shop on your couch, in a hammock, at a coworking space, at a coffee shop or in your car while you cruise around Toronto.  You choose.

Employees get whatever used office space the last person vacated. My favorite was getting to clean out the accumulation of dead skin cells and lunch spills off of the keyboard tray. Maybe you’ll get a cubicle or a “workspace” which is just a cubicle with lower walls.

Independents take better care of themselves. An absence of cheap health care will prompt them to do more preventative maintenance and a flexible schedule allows for a mid-day run or yoga session.

Employees go to the doctor a lot and will have to use “sick time” to do it assuming they even have any hours left over after their kids get the chickenpox.

Independents are scrappy in the best sense. Constantly scouting for the next gig, their income streams are diverse and staggered, they are in control and they can’t be laid off.

Employees get a nice, fat direct deposit every two weeks and just when you’re lulled into complacency with a bigger mortgage and a new jet ski, the company will downsize and your one and only source of income will become an unemployment check which will barely cover the new mortgage. “Thanks for your years of loyal service.”

Just think about it. That’s all I’m asking. Imagine both worlds and plant both feet firmly where you want to be.