Yesterday, Clementine Daily interviewed me and asked a very pointed question: How have you adjusted to the transition of living on the West Coast (again) and working full time in a office-like setting? So today, I felt like going deeper into why I made this leap. I feel like it’s really popular right now to proclaim ‘yay freelancing,’ but when it comes down to it, it’s not for everyone. I’m one of those people and I want to share my story.
I say this without hyperbole: freelancing is hard. It got to a point where I felt like I was hustling 24/7. I was always on, always chasing that next big opportunity whether it was a design client or a blog sponsor. I never felt like I could turn down a job because my mind was always wondering “What if you run out of money?” So I worked my butt off. I stayed up all night making pom poms. I learned how to fix plumbing when I clogged my drain with glitter at 3 am the night before a shoot. I also started to push back meetings later and later in the day so I could sleep in to catch up on all the sleeping I was missing. Now that was a vicious cycle. When I went on vacation in October, I realized that I was burning myself out and something needed to shift. I’d unwittingly created an environment that wasn’t healthy for myself at all.
Hello, is anyone there?
It gets downright lonely working solo, especially when your office is actually your kitchen table and your drawing surface is actually your sofa. Days would go by where I’d not get dressed, not wash my hair… you get the picture. I discovered also that I greatly value the feedback of others during my design process. When I worked in an office, it wasn’t uncommon for me to turn to my desk neighbor and ask, “Hey, what do you think of this?” You can’t do that when working from a cafe.
I don’t know how to sugarcoat this: I missed a steady paycheck that I didn’t have to chase, health insurance, dental insurance… even 401(k) matching. So much of my time as a freelancer was also spent shopping for insurance plans and chasing invoices that it felt like I couldn’t even be creative during the day. Now that I’m back in an office environment, it is expected of me to be creative.
This probably goes against the grain, but I’m a creative who loves structure. I firmly believe that structure allows me to be creative. If I know all the superfluous stuff is being taken care of, I don’t have to worry about it… and therefore I can design some really rad stuff.
All of that being said, I am so unbelievably grateful for everything I learned while freelancing for 6 months. My biggest take away is that I now have more confidence in my skills, my voice, my talent than ever before. This wasn’t a decision that I entered into lightly and ultimately it came down to being offered a job that was so unbelievable that I just could not walk away. As I’m writing this, I feel like I could go on and on about how happy I am to have made the leap back into full-time employment, especially with the company I am so proud to be a part of now. While this may not be the “popular” decision among my peers, I am really proud of the decision I made.
photo by Jojotastic — that’s actually my desk!