Freelance work, the choice of freedom over the security of employment

As my Eurostar train 🚂 is leaving Paris, I am officially finishing my first month as a freelancer. So far so good 😊, I love the mission, the client is lovely, and happy about my work, the team is brilliant, and I am enjoying my work everyday.

As my Eurostar train 🚂 is leaving Paris, I am officially finishing my first month as a freelancer. So far so good 😊, I love the mission, the client is lovely, and happy about my work, the team is brilliant, and I am enjoying my work everyday.

I have always felt a big need for freedom, maybe it’s in my French blood ? I can’t tell, maybe it comes from my father, who was always defending this idea that we work, for being able to not care anymore about money, and to be able to do whatever we want. I am not at this point, yet in my life, where I would be making enough to not care anymore, but the idea of having enough money to feel secure is a nice goal.

I really like the fact that there is no relation of subordination in a Business to Business relationship. It’s all about filling the mission, completing a service and getting paid for it. Of course there is more to it but here I am trying to give the basics.

You will agree or not, but when you join any company as an employee, whether it is a small start up or a big corporation, you have to blend into a new community, keep up with the small talk and overall ambiance, make “friends” into the company, and you are going to be judge at some point not for your work but for your social skills.

It was never my strength, like my father, we might be very smart, our social skills are what they are. Even though I am pretty sure mine are way better than his 😅, I wouldn’t put this in my skills. Don’t mistaken me here, I have close friends and I have a very developed sense of caring, having empathy, talking with people I don’t even know.

Like the other night, I was going back home from a dinner 🍽, and I found an old woman wandering around near my building. As much as I wanted to go to bed, I just had to offer my assistance, it felt like my duty. It was 2*C outside, and she was only wearing a light jacket, I was even ready to offer her to stay inside if she had been homeless or something.

It didn’t take me long to wonder if it was in fact an alzheimer patient that escaped in the middle of the night, I have read a bunch of articles about it, people with alzheimer sometimes imagine they are kids again and that they need to go to see their parents, and leave their home and get lost 😞.

I offered my help, she said she was looking for a taxi 🚕 to go home. I asked her what was the address she wanted to go so that I could potentially help her out, she gave me the address we were at, at the moment. I immediately knew it was an Alzheimer case. You have to keep in mind that you won’t be able to resonate this people, I was innocent and tried to make her figuring out that she was already arrived at this address and that it might be another address she wanted to go to. No luck into changing her mind, she was stubborn to go to this place we already were at. I offered her a few times to go inside the main hall so that we could figure out something out in a warmer place than outside. I tried to ask her to maybe give me contact details of someone I could call 📞 to help her out but I immediately felt she was not going to be cooperative, more in fact that I was annoying her.

Given how cold it was I decided to walk with her to find a taxi, thinking that I could potentially tell the driver to go to the police station so that they could figure out her identity. We found a taxi, the driver tried first to get rid of her, not wanting to lose money or help out, I had to threatening and bullshit him regarding insurance and responsibility, not happy that I did it, but it worked and for saving someone else everything is worth trying. The old lady gave him an address and they left. I learned later on she was in fact living in the nearby building, that her family knew she was at risk with her alzheimer to leave in the middle of the night but that they were all in denial of this situation… She had finished her night in the local hospital where the taxi drived her after realizing the address was not even in Paris, he first went to the police station but they didn’t want to take care of this matter… what a shame.

Anyway, I might have great social skills, I learned a lot and worked a lot to reach this level of confidence; but it was never helping me in companies I have worked for. It is far more convenient to work has a b2b contractor, doing my job, having a great working relationship with my coworkers, leaving aside the part I am not great into.

Given how well it goes in the new company, which I selected because in fact I love their values, I am starting to wonder if either my past impressions were made because I was in the wrong environment of work before or if the big changes I have done last year have changed my behaviour in a good way ? Probably both, my current company’s values include the promotion of parity and diversity, it felt like a decision point for me. They reconciled me with corporate environment in a way ? Maybe 🤔. Time will tell.

I also love the fact that I can do home office from wherever I want. One day in Paris, another in Lyon, another from the mountains, from Poland, from Berlin and tomorrow from London. 🇬🇧 My only needs are my computer 💻 and a good Internet connection, even though I have worked so many times with sharing my phone’s datas which was even faster from the mountains 🏔 than the landline. So you know of course video calls are the one thing draining more data but even this, is not a crazy amount, office work doesn’t really need much data at all.

view from the eurostar speed train on the way to london before entering the tunnel
On the train to London

Last year I even worked once from a taxi, I almost felt like what they like to call a digital Nomad. 😅 My girlfriend and I are thinking to both go nomads and maybe explore one place at a time together while working. This lifestyle is not for everyone, it is not for you if you are planning to have kids or buy a house – not that we won’t end up doing that after a few years- .

Because yes, this freedom comes with a part of risks. We rely on contract we find, if we are sick we won’t get paid, we don’t have paid holidays and we won’t get unemployment’s rights. As a French worker I am at least getting the normal kind of social security, which cover most of my medical expenses if needed. It’s a very big chance and I guess I would never have been into freelancing without this security.

I could make a parallel between freelancing and the covid crisis, we are now accepting that it could go wrong but we are willing to take our part of risk for the freedom we missed so much.

If you read this article, please share your thoughts in the comments 😌

A great start of the year

I like the energy I get from those new discoveries, it gives me strength and ideas to learn more and continue to look into innovative things.

Today is a grey day in Paris, you can not tell how high the clouds are because it looks like the sky is just a big grey cloud with no limits. I am not a big fan of thoses days to say the least, it somehow impacts my energy in a negative way and just makes me want to sleep and hide until it’s better.

It’s Sunday with no sun, so I decided to make an effort and write a bit, might go to a co working space later today, to gather more positive energy 😇. Not sure why, but co working spaces really help me to do more that I would have been doing, at home. Of course it’s not free but just seing new faces and people working on something – whatever it is – helps me sometimes.

I had surgery last week, it went great 👍 and recovery is faster than I expected. No worries, I know that by hearing the word surgery, people often anticipate it as a last chance scenario for a bad thing happening; truth is it was just a very minor and very casual surgery known as saphenous veins removal. 😌 I tend to think that my great diet and new lifestyle has helped so much with it in the way that I am healthier today than I was last year.

I started a new job also, a freelance mission for a client for the next 5 months. It just feels so great, the team is amazing, I fit greatly in this new job and most importantly I am having a blast every day !

I decided to go freelance first because I wanted to be able to work where I wanted, and also because it would fit my project of working and studying at the same time for the next 6 months.

From there I am not sure 🤔 yet I will sign for another mission or try to start my new carrier as junior developer. Anyway time will say and I am very confident 🙂 that watever it is, it will be a nice journey.

Opening my own little company was not that difficult, of course it means you have to do things by yourself, meaning a bit of administrative tasks. In the end the most difficult was to figure out which tax forms I would now need to fill and to wait for the administration to take into account my new company. I came accross plenty of blogs, videos, websites, posts, giving tips and not always the greatest ones, it just felt sometimes I was the particular case no one was really talking about.

If you need help setting up your company in France 🇫🇷 don’t hesitate to contact me 😀, I have now a good knowledge of the do’s and don’t. Plus I am always keen to learn about new projects, yes I am that guy who goes to the startup Christmas market and talk to everyone to get to know their projects better. I went to the one in Station F in Paris this year and made some great discoveries.

I think 🤔 I developed this ease to talk to random strangers about different projects while traveling and living in countries where I was not speaking local language. I know how to make people at ease and make then tell me what their project is and feel confident.

One of the woman I met at this market was telling me she was in fact facing great difficulties in opening her own company. We had a little chitchat and I was able to make her more confident that the little administrative issues she has now are easy to go around. I do it for free, it empowers me and makes me more creative and happy about myself.

There was a bunch of nice little projects, one young startup from Lyon was proposing to industry to use fish skin to replace leather for example. The final texture or the product was very impressive, I guess the most difficult part with this product is to make consumers forget the brain 🧠 association they probably make in their minds with fish 🐟 being stinky.

I also admired a great project of a young woman who’s business she first started in her own kitchen had developed greatly already. Petit Côté is proposing portions of cakes made of at least 30% of vegetables 🥕. This have the advantage to reduce fats and sugar added in those pastries 🥮. I tried myself the chocolate cakes (with 30% beets) and it was really nice 👍.

Most of these businesses where launch during the pandemic and I can only be admirative of the resilience and the courage of those entrepreneurs !

The project I was the most excited and interested about is a company called Flakon. I do feel a bit mitigated about their current market target and I will do my best to explain why.

The product is great looking, simple and smart. Let me share a picture because you can then decide for yourself right away.

They bottle french wine 🍷, and the good ones, in 100mL cute packages, to put into perspective, the size of the bottle cap is the exact same as a standard 750mL wine bottle. They kepts the overall design of the standard bottle, adaptating it to the new for factor which IMO makes it really cute looking ! I find the form factor really attractive and wants to buy it and collecting it right away !

Their goal right now is to offer this product in boxes containing a few of them for wine tasting. Let me show you:

Boxes are far from being cheap and looks kind of ugly (just a better carton 📦) my guess would be that french consumers might prefer to buy actual bottles of 750mL and share with their guests instead of sharing one little test tube 🧪 for each wine.

I personally see this product in Asia, in China and in many luxury clubs of Asia ! Available in hotels too, at the bar and in the mini bar to allow clients, who don’t necessarily have the culture of drinking french wine , to try them and develop a taste for it. This product is far better looking than mini bottles we sometimes see will ever be. I aslo can only thing of seeing this product becoming the new thing to order all together at the club with friends instead of glasses of wine 🍷. I would totally see this product available in Bar Rouge in Shanghai for example.

I tried to share my enthusiasm but it doesn’t seem to me that they have any international ambitions at the time. 🥴

I like the energy I get from those new discoveries, it gives me strength and ideas to learn more and continue to look into innovative things. I might sound very Schumpeterian talking about innovation but what else is THIS interesting nowadays ? Our economies rely on innovation and I will do my best to be part of it in the next decade.

I admit I wanted to write about this for some time but never had the chance to yet. In the end, this grey Sunday was a chance 🍀

I might go to London in two weeks, i will do my best to write about a local subject 🤫

To be continued.

2022, sky is the limit 😎

I can’t wait to have the first images from the new James Webb space telescope, this multi billion dollars scientific project is the most interesting ever.

25B31BDE00683EB6596E5F4505A00B0110FF6A9B4AA88BC31BDDB69DB78A65E0 , this would be the hash of the title in 64 bytes with SHA 256 🔐 which we use to secure blocks on the Bitcoin blochain.

Alright 😇 I just wanted to bore you with some geeky stuff for the new year. There is so much to learn and to discover in 2022. Let’s for a moment put aside the pandemic, since we have a promising vaccine mNRA technology, the only challenge left is mass production for the whole planet 🌎 (just..)

Democracy

The real challenge of 2022 might be elsewhere, starting by saving our democracies which have been hit badly with extraordinary measure on governments side and conspiracy theories on the other side. Given the low level of the French presidential campaign, I have never been that worried that France might follow the British in some European Union exiting delirium.

Crisis has only got worse existing problems, creating an even greater gap between the richest and the poorest.

With the current levels of inflation, chances are governments won’t increase minimum wages, using the base level workers as adjustment’s variable, in the idea that increasing all salaries with ongoing inflation might make it worse. This can already be verified, French governement recently offered 100€ to all citizens making less than €2000 net to compensate with the extra costs of energy. It is indeed easier to give free money 💰 than to change the whole system.

A new era

We must accept that the world as we knew it before this century’s pandemic is gone and that a new era has begun. Traveling with a mask on will be the new normal, for the best regarding viruses, for the worse regarding comfort. We use to not know anymore why we would go party because we were partying all the time, now is the time where we don’t really have the mindset to party, and the few times we do it has a real meaning, escaping for a night the burden of our new routines.

I am very impressed in a good way, by the way <Us human/> are able to adapt. Past the first scares and panic moments, we learn to live in a more “dangerous” world, we learned that, yes there is life, and there is death and we accept it as it is.

Space

I can’t wait to have the first images from the new James Webb space telescope, this multi billion dollars scientific project is the most interesting ever. The successor of Hubble will be able to go beyond what Hubble could see. (NASA article)

Webb Telescope will be able to see “baby galaxies”. One reason Webb will be able to see the first galaxies is because it is an infrared telescope.

NASA
Ariane 5 launch of James Webb telescope

Work

A little update regarding myself, I found my first contract as a freelancer, I received the good news of the 24th of December. 😊 I am still working hard to learn Python, Front End, and any languages I find interesting to learn by myself for a future career’s shift.
Along the way I am finding new passions for different subjects like SQL, which use to be the skill I did not know much about, I really LOVE it, it’s such a powerful tool, and I could begin to see the similarities between the different tools. The more I learn about things, the more I want to know even more.
I used to write a lot of incident tickets for the front end or back end teams in my previous companies, now I feel I will be able to dig furthermore to spot where the issue is, can’t wait 🤓.

Blockchain and Metaverse

Cryptocurrencies market took a bad hit during the last few weeks, it was hard to watch 😶‍🌫️. As much as I like the concept of Decentralized Finance DeFi, I am not sure we really all want to live in a world where currencies could go from 0 to 1000 in a few hours. Stable coins might be the solutions, and as much as I like the way that you can potentially finance your blockchain project by going live on the the market, it’s a bit too wild 🤠.
I still think there is a massive future for securing data on the blockchain in different fields, like real estate, or for example with medical data. I would feel more secure to have my data in the blockchain in the way that no one can alter or modify it, whereas on the cloud or in my computer, anyone could potentially change it or delete it. For real estate I see the blockchain as the notary of the future.
This will only be allowed by Governments with a better KYC (Know Your Customer) and Anti money laundering control.
On Metaverse, given how many oculus headsets have been sold in December, there is obviously a growing interest for VR. Meta (ex-facebook) is putting billions of $$$ into their metaverse, your VR headset might become the one thing to have to have an online life in the near future. Apple is rumoured to be launching its own headset this year, I can not believe they would allow their own customers to join Meta’s world so I am only guessing that Apple itself has a team working on their own Apple world.
There is probably a lot of money to make in all the accessories that people will need at home to have a better VR experience.