Posts tagged ‘jobs’

January 5, 2015

decade in the job

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Today is a milestone of sorts for me.

Ten years ago, 5th January 2005, I packed in my last normal job and went rogue, ie self-employed.

I had turned down the opportunity to make permanent my temporary office job, and didn’t feel compelled to get a new one immediately because at the time I was making enough from work on the side – an occasional bit of overpaid radio comedy, on top of a regular income from going to a rich businessman’s house every Saturday morning so he could dictate his memoirs to me. Plus in those halcyon days, my rent was only £50 a week. IN ZONE 2 LONDON. It would no doubt be far more challenging to try this now, when you need to be clearing £40K a year just to be able to sublet a beanbag in zone 6.

By the time the radio show was cancelled and the memoir-transcribing was on hiatus, frankly I was ruined for proper jobs. I was always terrible at getting them anyway, so being self-employed didn’t really feel like a choice – although I suppose it is, if the absence of an action counts as an action itself. Also, I think it was easier for me to default to this feckless ‘career’ ‘path’ because my father is a sculptor, and my brother is a comedian; I wasn’t taking a risk and breaking the mould, because that mould was already long broken.

Nonetheless, this past decade has been full of fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency hard graft, begging for work, monumental levels of procrastination, frequent feelings of failure, frequent feelings of smugness when I don’t have to get up on Monday morning to go to an office, stress about my lack of current and future financial/career/emotional security, and, above all, the absolute joy of getting to do pretty much what I wanted.

Self-employment is a pretty great way to live, if like me you favour variety, self-reliance and solitude over stability, structure and the company of colleagues.

But let’s not forget that fear. It’s not my ideal constant companion, but maybe I’ll get used to it after another ten years.

Are you in the same self-employment boat? I’d love to hear your thoughts, if you’re willing to share them in the comments.

PS More about freelancing in the October 2014 episode of Sound Women.

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October 6, 2014

feel the fear and freelance anyway

This month’s Sound Women podcast is all about a subject close to my heart: freelancing! Come next January, I’ll have been a freelancer for ten years. I either think being a freelancer is the best thing in the world, or a terrifyingly irresponsible decision, disastrous for one’s finances and future security. I swing from one to the other several times daily. Joining me to share tales of joy, fear and being an official Mrs Potato Head were the excellent freelancers Matt Hill, Ellie Davis and Nicky Patrick. Listen here or right here:

After having said it a few thousand times, it occurred to me that ‘freelance’ is quite an odd term, so I looked it up and learnt that it was probably coined by Walter Scott in Ivanhoe. There’s your fact of the day.

In other work news, this Saturday was the final episode of BBC 5 Live’s Saturday Edition, a show I’ve been on nearly every week since the very beginning, four years ago. I’m sad to see it go, especially when I heard the montage at the end – you can hear it on the podcast here.

So now I’m patrolling central London wearing an A-board, advertising my services. That’s the best way to get new radio gigs, right?

I’m not sure the best way to stay in the radio industry’s good books was to do this talk at the Next Radio conference last month, but whatevs, it’s too late now:

If you want to hear me banging on about podcasting, then direct yourself to the 25th September edition of the Media Focus podcast; and/or if you would like to read me banging on about podcasting then check out this interview I did with Podcaster News.

And finally: there’s an excellent new online magazine in town, Standard Issue, and I’m delighted to contribute to it. Here I am debunking some stats about women in comedy, that subject that will hopefully one day be known as ‘people in comedy’.