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interesting topic in today’s talk of the nation about the growing percentage of freelancers in the workforce:


it’s about how as this shitty economy forces so many people out of traditional 9-5 jobs, many of them are starting to go freelance, hustling multiple smaller “gigs” to compensate for that single 40-hour a week job they lost.  

tina brown (of vanity fair and the new yorker fame) is one of neil conan’s guests for this one.  seems interesting that she’s the one talking about this topic, given her background as magazine boss.  she and her various staffs over the years have no doubt hired many a freelancers.  in this interview, she compares hiring freelancers to dating, fooling around with a bunch of potential suitors before deciding on the ones that get to stay for breakfast  (of course, she didn’t say it exactly this way).  

good analogy.  i’ve no doubt gone thru several failed “dates” in my newish freelance career so far.  but some invite me back into their beds now and then, so maybe i’m not that horrible.

which reminds me of this question i occasionally get from photo students and beginners:  “what it takes to survive as a freelancer?”  yeah, i usually give them the typical canned response of “not giving up” and “just doing your best work”, blah blah blah…

but what i’m really thinking is, “get married to someone with a good-paying job and health insurance.”


feb 17:  i got some heat from the ole missus about that last line above.  she didn’t take too fondly to that message, which gave the impression that i married her only for her paycheck.

well, let me clarify to all three of you reading this blog (missus included) that i did not marry her for her paycheck and benefits.  in fact, if you saw the shithole we lived in when i first went freelance, you would completely understand (we’ve subsequently moved to a better place, btw).

it’s just interesting, though, how much easier it can be for a newbie freelancer to find his/her path when they have a spouse supporting them.  see, if i had to go it 100% my own way when i started, i would have had to take every single piece of shit gig that i could drum up in order to pay for the roof over my fat head.  i would not have been able to take photographic risks and calculated decisions on what NOT to shoot if the ole missus wasn’t there for me.  i would have been so mired in shooting absolute crap, that i would have had no time or energy to devote to the type of shooting that i was really aiming for.

so i’m gonna end this amendment before it sounds too much like an academy award acceptance speech.  but there is definitely some truth to cliche of oscar speeches, where they thank their loving spouses who held it all together at their jobs while their deadbeat husbands/wives went off and made “art”.


Written by John

February 4, 2009 at 5:28 pm