Freelancing Rocks (But it won’t give you a job title)

I’m Jonathan and I am a translator. No scrub that, I am an interpreter. No, forget that, I am a researcher. Hmm, maybe I am really a preacher. Or maybe I am really a language services provider. Or maybe a proofreader or a blogger or a company director or…

Anyone else recognise that feeling? It normally happens at parties or when you meet someone for the first time. It’s that nervous feeling when someone says that immortal line “so, what do you do?”

You see, compared to out 9 to 5 compatriots, we freelancers can have a bit of a rough time when it comes to describing what we do all day. Sure, we can always go for the old chestnut of “I run my own business” but the follow-up question is always “what kind of business?” and it all careens downhill from there.

Mind you, we might not really have it that hard after all. Who wouldn’t want a rewarding job with no commute (except from the home office to the kitchen), low emissions (except for on curry night) and no annoying managers?

Sometimes, though, we are out own worst critics. In our business, it pays to be a bit self-critical, even slightly obsessive. Sadly, during party conversations, these noble characteristics are frowned on. “I spent all of Tuesday brushing up on my industrial chemical pump terminology” is about on par with “I work as an accountant” as a conversation stopper!

After more than three years of trying to fit what I do all day into the confines of a short, snappy reply, I have pretty much given up. Who cares if my work doesn’t fit the mould of a nice, snappy job title and a single line on a CV? Eventually, I am coming to the place where I am doing what I love and loving what I do and that’s what matters.

So I am writing this post to encourage my fellow freelancers to be proud of what you do. We few, we happy few, we band of undescribables have good reason for cheer. We don’t need to worry about traffic or noisy co-workers. We choose our hours, we choose our clients, we even choose our place of work. Freelancers, we rock!


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