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.
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 😌