From The Blog

When Freelancing Isn’t Enough

As I believe I mentioned a few weeks back, I’m currently looking for a full-time job. This is something I’ve been slowly working up to...

As I believe I mentioned a few weeks back, I’m currently looking for a full-time job.

This is something I’ve been slowly working up to over the past year or so, a decision borne  partly of economic necessity and partly of personal choice.

I’ve worked as a freelancer writer for the past five years. And I have absolutely loved the flexibility it has afforded me vis a vis my family as well as the various projects I’ve pursued during that time (e.g., writing a novel, starting this blog, getting super-involved in the PTA).

At  the end of the day,  however, it is incredibly hard to make a living as a freelancer, especially during a recession.

That was OK, for a while. I didn’t really mind not making a ton of money, because I was investing in growing my platform and most importantly, I was having fun. But now that we are looking to purchase a home (and p.s., London housing prices would appear to be immune to the global economy), it has become clear that if we want to put our family of four into something larger than a bread box, we need to have a serious second income.

But it’s not just about the money. I think that even if I were a gazillionaire, I’d probably be looking for a full-time job right now. For better or for worse, I was born to work. Call it an excess of energy. Call it an identity crisis. Or call it tired of doing pick-up every day after school. Whatever the cause, I’m at a point in my life where I really want to put my heart and soul into something outside of my family – and my own mind – and get paid for it.

I’ve always been a firm believer that – to the extent that one has a choice (which most women don’t) – decisions about work/life balance should come down to your gut. When I moved to London five years ago, what felt right was working part-time and investing a lot of time and energy into the kinds of things – like writing – that I simply didn’t have time for when I produced a daily talk show for public radio with two small kids at home.

But life is pendulum and now it’s swung the other way. My gut is telling me that it’s time to go back into the work force, if not full time, then very close to it. (Wednesday’s post will explain how I came to that conclusion.)

So these days, I’m busy hanging out my shingle wherever and whenever I can. The good news is that I may be one of the few people out there who actually enjoys looking for work. Part of that is my love of change. But I’m also one of those weird people who actually *likes* looking for jobs. I love the way writing a cover letter forces you to think about how your particular background and skill set make you suited to one job or another. Re-imagining yourself in this way also gives you more self-confidence going forward.

So off I go. I’m sure I’ll have loads more to say about this journey as it kicks into high gear. For now, I just try to start every day with a healthy round of that 80’s classic, Nine To Five


Image: Dolly Parton, Hollywood Bowl July 23, 2011 by MargaretNapier via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.



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  1. BigLittleWolf September 19, 2011 at 7:18 pm #

    A timely post for me.

    Yes, it’s incredibly hard to make a living as a freelancer, especially in down economic times. Some of us were forced into it (by the economy), and supply & demand being what they are in the job markets, may find few options even with experience.

    I wish you much luck in your search, wonder how it will differ on that side of the pond from this, and look forward to hearing how it goes.

  2. Kristen @ Motherese September 19, 2011 at 7:37 pm #

    Best wishes, Delia, as you look for a position that works for you. Your post comes just as I am making a transition of my own – from full-time stay-at-home motherhood to part-time freelance writing – and I agree completely: to the extent we can afford it, we all need to choose what feels right in our gut. And for me? Being at home full-time with three little ones wasn’t a great fit. So I’ll make a change and then another one and prepare myself for a lifetime of more.

    On a side note, I have oddly warm feelings for Dolly Parton. When I was younger, I thought of her as a sort of caricature, but, as I’ve learned more about her charitable work and the class with which she moves through her life, I’ve become a real fan.

  3. Jean September 19, 2011 at 8:25 pm #

    Go Delia Go!!

  4. Vicki September 20, 2011 at 3:15 am #

    Good luck to you! Does this mean you will be turning down the blogging? I really enjoy what you have to say, especially the Adulthood series!

    I’ve been thinking about Stay-At-Home-Mom-ing vs Freelancing vs Working Full Time a lot lately. I have an infant, so I’m hoping to be able to stay home with him until he is in school. But part of me really misses working – I love being involved in the community, collaborating with interesting people, and that happy-to-be-home feeling. I am so grateful to be with my baby now, but I find myself taking on projects and started playgroups just for some adult interaction!

  5. delialloyd September 20, 2011 at 6:33 am #

    Thanks, everybody. Really appreciate the support. @Kristen – yes I love Dolly too. She is an amazing woman all around (and I love her voice!) @Vicki – will certainly keep the blog going…especially now! (So much to talk about!!) @biglittlewolf – I am also curious if it is harder/easier on this side of the pond. I’ll keep you posted…it is all very scary and exciting!

  6. Lisa September 20, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

    Wishing you all the best Delia. Rational, kind, educated voices like yours should be widely heard.

  7. daryl boylan September 21, 2011 at 1:51 am #

    yes – go go go! And I bet you’ll turn up something excellent beside the “Woman Up” column I always enjoyed.

  8. Cecilia September 22, 2011 at 12:30 am #

    Good luck, Delia! I still remember when I first “met” you, through your essay on Motherlode on NYT. You were struggling then with the mixed emotions of freelancing/stay at home mothering. Ít is a good feeling to just “know” what is right for you. I hope you find something fulfilling, but hope you will continue to write!


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