Ira Glass (via fmybook)
I get asked a lot about the creative’s freelancer vs permanent life cycles- which is cray as I am not a creative, and I’ve worked 90% of my professional career as a permanent employee to a larger company. But- I’ve established that I’m a solid, if separate, observer of the Creative Life so- we’ll roll with my answers and thoughts to the freelance vs permeant professional chasm of opportunities.
First of all- and I get real tough tasking you all with these questions, like I’m training you for a title bout; and I’m playing Devil’s Advocate to your Vatican; while I’ve got your back like Yoda, getting carried through the swamps in Return of the Jedi- if you trust yourself to find success more than the opportunities ANY company can offer you, you should freelance. I do believe it is that simple. (Advertising life success / “winning” to be discussed in another post.)
So- to examine the inverse- if you are aware of ANY way that a company CAN offer you more opportunity that you would/should/could secure for yourself, you should work for a company. For instance:
- If you have a family or a pre-existing condition and you need corporate health insurance, you should work full time.
- If you’d like to and have the means to travel through a year, be freelance.
- If you’d like to gain broadcast or interactive production experience, be permanent & pitch & sell the work on your assigned account, then fight to hold onto the idea, to lead its production cycle.
- If you’d like to try on different companies & not-too-thoroughly invest of your own financial & professional success, be freelance: to figure out what works best for you, to find the right opportunity to give of that investment.
Second inverse, to my point about trust in ANY company: if you do trust ANY industry employer- maybe just not your current agency, though you would trust the industry leaders, i.e the Drogas, the Barton F Grafs, the Mothers- if you would trust these companies to manage your success at your current experience level as a creative- well: you should/could ask yourself a lot of questions about your relationship & investment in an employer & our industry. I say ‘any industry employer’ as the seemingly functional companies- dude, they *seem* functional and we’re in *advertising*- they might not be the right places for us all to blossom all the time. If you give this trust to any employer- even the industry’s top tier- without having the knowledge of your creative self in the first place, that company can take away your industry success, which is like leaving you guys with nothing to show in your portfolio.
To use one of my favorite words: simple logic & communication regarding belief in oneself is tricky. (Tricky is one of my favorite words. Not simple. Being from New York, growing up in New Jersey, being an Italian Scorpio- I don’t really do simple. I fucking love the word ‘tricky’ as its liquid, humorous, and edgy enough to cover most complex concepts, while giving the respect those complex concept deserve. I work with you creatives professionally so ‘liquid’ and ‘edgy’ are words I live by. Sidebar done.) And- creatives & intelligent people in general, IMHO, have trouble accepting simplicity. We want to add story, and media executions, and are the Pelorian Brothers available to direct? But- we must/should/could/would rigorously edit & tighten our ideas & beliefs in ourselves, about who we are professionally, creatively, and financially, our role in this industry, in this craft.
So- here we go with the title bout of trusting yourself as a creative. When you are freelancing, you are responsible financially, creatively, professionally for everything that comes to you. When you work full time, you have a framework to blossom & blame- yes, both, it’s damn hardy to blossom without support- though a responsibility to improve, to invest yourself in success. I see a permanent job as an opportunity to share investment, financial & professional, towards success. Freelance is taking on the responsibility of success on my own. (See why I need a separate post to define what success in the advertising industry is?)
I believe that your decision about whether or not to freelance, it should come from any examination of the trust you have in your current or potential employer, compared against the trust you have in yourself & your industry craft could accomplish. Or: you should/could/would view a full time job as an opportunity for your own growth, versus indentured servitude that plunders your creative soul. And- to that inverse- freelance is the personal responsibility towards your own success & growth, to lay naked & trust & examine your own ambitions.
Trust:: employer : perm creative :: self : freelance creative.
Sorry guys, this is dense thinking. Last sidebar: I took Aristotelian Logic & Philosophy in college, I got an A-.