Do you really achieve flexibility / independence when working as a freelance engineer?
That’s the big question, and it’s important because the very reason why you’re choosing your career in the field while working in a freelance capacity is to gain the benefits of flexibility and independence. But there are a couple of considerations you need to keep in mind.
First, we need to establish the fact that the concept of ‘flexible working’ is different than ‘achieving flexibility’ itself when you are already a freelancer. Also, ‘freelancing’ and ‘contracting’ are two separate entities.
Freelancing is one way to achieve independence in your work. Of course, this all depends on the very kind of role you take as a freelancer. It could be described as working on multiple short-term projects – which is not too common. In that case, you usually need to be working from your own office, whether that’s at home or in an actual office is up to you and your circumstances. Inevitably a degree of flexibility comes along with that, where it’s essentially up to you to turn up to work, switch on the PC, check your emails and start delivering for your clients! How you do that (depending on the type of freelance job of course) is up to you.
‘Contracting’ usually means occupying a specialist role which requires you to be present in the office in a full-time capacity. This is especially true if you are involved with construction. There are a lot of factors which can determine whether or not you fit into either category; Microsoft covered this quite well.
Working can take on many forms. If your circumstances allow it, building your own schedule and customising it as to when you do your best work, and how often you need to interact with your clients and colleagues all play a part.
Say you’re. That means you’d like to work late into the night, and work early in the morning, when other people are not at work. You can find a great deal of calm working outside normal hours. This doesn’t mean you’re working late into the night and early in the morning all the time, but it’s usually one or the other. Sleep’s not negotiable!
You can nip off to a café, do some shopping, do some exercise, pick up the kids, do a bit of housework… whatever it is that needs to be done. The flexibility is there if you can arrange your life accordingly. It’s up to you as a freelance engineer to organise and stick to schedules, while juggling all your obligations and needs in a way that works for you, your family and your client/s.
Take some time to figure it out for yourself and see if it works for you. Once you make the switch, you may not want to change your circumstances and return to a 9-to5 role. Becoming a freelance engineer can be a fantastic adventure. With so much more flexibility and independence, it’s an entirely different world to the type of job where you are expected to be in the office five days a week from 9-5; sometimes earlier than 9, sometimes later than 5 – all depending on the role.
But the truth is, it’s not necessarily going to be for everyone. Also, like it or not, some contract jobs and freelance positions will require you to be in the office.
In a perfect world, your freelancing role callow you to work in any number of ideal circumstances into your work life. You’d work from anywhere, at any time. You’d have the freedom to choose with whom you work. You’d have total control over your workload. You’d have the flexibility and independence to do as much as you wanted in the timeframe you needed to achieve the goals you set for the financial return you need.fr
That’s the perfect world, and we’d all aspire to that as working professionals. So, until you find your world and your circumstances falling into the ‘perfect’ category, the key word you need to keep in mind is ‘adaptation’. Work your schedule to adapt to what your needs are and adapt to find out what works best for you. Whatever you enjoy doing, and whatever brings out your best work – do that.
Just a suggestion – do you think this statement should go after the third paragraph above (“Also, ‘freelancing’ and ‘contracting’ are two separate entities.“)?