A few weekends ago, I joined two hundred people from across Atlantic Canada at a conference in a little town called Georgetown to discuss the notion of "Rural Redefined." I was looking forward to conversations about food and farming but soon realized I was among the minority. The people at Georgetown had other priorities, namely revitalizing places with dying industries or high outmigration. In other words, this room was full of people with essentially the same fears and challenges you find in cities of all sizes. In fact, if you changed the name Rural Redefined, this conference could have been held in Saint John or Pittsburgh or any number of cities just as well. However, hearing proactivity from the smallest parties on the urban continuum - places for whom a single family can make a huge difference - shed more light on the issues than I could have anticipated. I made a video about it.
You are probably wondering by now, how goes the job hunt?
The short answer is: surprisingly well. I made a little video update to share my situation.
(Note: I recorded this last week. I'm rolling with a small graphics/communications contract now and waiting on an offer for a big urban farming proposal I submitted last week. Lots more in the cooker too.)
The long answer is:
Even though I wasn't technically "employed" until this week, I've been working morning to night pretty much since I moved here. By that I mean designing proposals, meetings x 1 million, research, financial planning, registering as a business, web design, launching this vlog, and a whole lot of miscellaneous. Much of that ground work did not translate into anything that pays my rent - to be expected - but I'm now officially divvying up my hours to projects that I'm excited to be a part of.
As indicated in the video, I decided to pursue contract work because it fits my personal goals for the year. There's definitely a trade-off though and I think we should talk about it. When we read about the changing nature of employment in the news, the increase in contract and temporary or part-time work is almost uniformly described as a negative. The obvious reason for that is a lack of security or benefits to the employee. We can decide that's not the society we want. We can take the necessary steps to achieve a more stable labour environment. But either way, I think there's a lot of missing information on what contract work even looks like considering it has become such an important cog in our system. What does it mean to be an economy of freelancers on a human level?
Since I'm a super privileged person my experiences are just one small sample of the freelance lifestyle. I'll report how things are going nonetheless and I hope some of you will also be willing to share your experiences. That way, any readers considering contract work can know what they're in for.
Let's do this. Pros and cons. Weigh-in via comments with your thoughts/experiences.
What would you add or subtract from that picture?
On another note, a bit of shop-talk for fellow freelancers. I just started using Harvest to organize hours and billing and OMG so much better than post-it notes and spreadsheets. Well worth the money in headaches saved.