What You Miss Out On By Freelancing or Running a Small Business

I have come down with the plague. Not two days after I posted about how productive and good I was feeling. That’s what I get, I guess. But it got me thinking about the things I used to have as a salaried employee, working for “the man”, that I don’t have now as a freelancer and sole proprietor. No one contributes to a pension fund, I have to provide my own life and health insurance (we actually currently don’t have life insurance policies, so don’t try to kill me because you’ll get NOTHING), no office gatherings where the CEO or the boss picks up the tab, but the biggest lack I think is in not having paid sick time. I mean, in theory as a part-time salaried employee on my regular creative gig, I have a handful of sick days that I can use, but as I set my own schedule and as the work I didn’t do today still needs to be done by the end of the week, it is a moot point. For the freelance job I’m trying to finish up, I need to try to force myself to work for at least a few hours later this evening, if I can. I emailed my client to tell them that there would be a delay, but I owe photos of the work in progress, and I need to get this job out of my queue so I can move on to other things.

But this is one of the problems of going towards an increasingly freelance/contract job market, and one that has yet to be solved. This, in addition to the rise in service industry jobs and part-time jobs, means you have a pool of workers that have very little protection should they get sick or worse. You have more and more people without any maternity leave, not even the paltry six weeks disability that most companies give. You have employees pushing themselves to come to work even when they really shouldn’t be. And don’t get me wrong, I love the flexibility of my current work schedule. But there are prices to pay, and the price for many people are too high.

Anyway, I do not succumb to illness with any kind of grace or dignity but rather with a grudging acceptance that I need to rest in order to heal. My stubbornness and sheer determination makes it very difficult for me to give in, though. But sometimes I have to.

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