Work of freelancer, that often means working from home. From a teenager’s point of view it may seem like something really cool. And also from the point of view of all those who have to wake up early to get somewhere in a sad office. But thinking about the “real situation” and being inside it, it can often be completely different…
(At least in Italy) the (increasingly) widespread freelance work, what we previously called telecommuting, always carries with it a double stereotype, developed by who every day goes to a regular office: on the one hand “free work” is envied for the great possibility of being flexible and autonomous; on the other hand it is debased, as it is believed that the person who works from home then actually does little or nothing.
How many times you get the question, “What do you do”? Is there a vague embarrassment in confessing that “you do it from home”? (Almost porno in here). But we italians are obsessed with the steady job so much that we are incapable to see the opportunities of the free one. It obviously gives more free time, for your family, passions, travels… more freedom to manage and decide, in one word more happiness. On the other hand you have the economic stability. It is a value too, but it should always be less important than your wealth!
The truth, as often happens, lies in the middle – Romans said in medio stat virtus, “virtue is in the middle” – made of advantages and disadvantages best to be aware of. Among the first ones, certainly be flexible (of times and places) is one of the best, but it can quickly turn into a trap if you are not able to manage it, in ways and energies, leading you to keep on working (too much or too little) an unworkable schedule. Hours that should be used to rest or work better the next day. Problems often happen especially at the beginning of this new experience, not being used to self-management at all, but rather to be directed “from above”. If you think about it, it’s a bit sad and it’s about time to change. In any case be a freelancer is a reality that already exists, and it’s developing, even in Italy (much more in Usa and other countries). The new juggling of 1 million out of 8 “Millenials” between 18 and 34 years old, according to the latest survey by Censis.
“The current invasion of the working environment even in private hours – with related, potential increase in workload – can only increase stress levels”, explains Franco Fraccaroli, professor of Occupational Psychology at the University of Trento, interviewed by Vice. It is a clear disadvantage, but on the other hand this already happens also for other types of jobs: this is more a smart phone’s fault. Among other disadvantages “the inevitable reduction of social relationships and typical forms of exchange in workplace – an important element of personal life”. The risk of loneliness and anonymity.
But the question is, (since the reality is this one): can you try to get around the problem by committing 100% (and not half time anymore, because before there was the “real job”) on what you are really good at and you can do, maybe more stressed but happier? And maybe use that new amount of available time for other activities that you would always like (and no longer half time, if it was ok, because before there was the “real job”). Activities that could give us, in the end, the same level of social relationships we need, if not make them even more selected and closer to how we really are. To try improving your and others life taking the courage to be completely responsible for your destiny and values (quite different from the the big companies’ ones, that usually are… only one, profit).
In the end, working freelance works a bit like mourning and its 5 acceptance phases.
1. At the beginning there is denial / rejection (sometimes replaced by a certain exaltation)
2. then you pass through anger phase (with the world and yourself) because what it was expected is not happening
3. at that point you get to bargaining / negotiating when you start giving yourself a minimum of rules, because “you can not go on like this”
4. in this way you fall into depression (also called brutalization) because all these changes are really difficult to manage and you feel the last of society
5. the natural cycle ends with acceptance and slow and patient arrangement of this new life, (that only after a certain period becomes to reveal itself as a splendid opportunity for self-management)
Bring work more and more steps closer to your life, far from being a way to stress or lose social contacts, it can instead be a first tiring step in another direction. It could mean, in fact, the progressive removal from the real dehumanizing work, which reached its peak with the “assembly line” (Ford in the past, a very different and more attentive Amazon in the present). This kind of job is placed, above all, at the service of others’ profit, and often with goals not really “human”. Look at all those companies, even Italian, we mention only today, who sell weapons to countries in conflict, even though it couldn’t be possible by law. “Our workers must work”, we justify ourselves. “They could work on reconversion“, it is suggested. But you do not want: you prefer to let poverty fights against war. Bloody wars fuel by simple provincial men lead by few “big riches”.
Perhaps working from home, if you really succeed, I mean, to make money, is the best thing that can happen to you. After a long phase of despair, you will be able to focus on what you really want to do, being ispired by a work that is close to your life (and not the big riches’ life), and only for this reason, a healthier job for you.
However, please leave the house. The problem of working from home, basically, is the home. For this, just from recent years co-working spaces, fablabs, hubs and whatever are popping up to help this new form of association. In Usa is still very common go working also at coffee shops, first of all the famous Starbucks, a warm and scented place where everyone works relaxed with its laptop. Anyway even in a bar, library, bookstore… you will see, and maybe you will meet, other lonely humans like you, working hard at who knows what! Then you will be able to say: “I work at Fandango Point on Monday, Tuesday at Bramante’s cloister, Wednesday at the Auditorium…” (in Roma). Yeah, it sounds cooler when they will ask you What do you do. They will no longer imagine you straight long on the sofa and also expressions on their faces will be very different.
To help your enterprise (working and exploring people and cities) in homepage we have published a list of some hidden gems in Roma (coffee bars, libraries, museums cafes…) equipped for working. So: indispensable wi-fi, suitable for pc and workers who wants to put their noses out of home, just to tap quietly at the cost of one espresso (for sure any bar in Italy is low-cost compared to Starbucks – that’s why it is just stupid the idea to spread it in Italy like in Usa). Two-three Starbucks in all Italy can be enough, just to try some of their fluffy flurry bluette and pallette stuff they are able to create with coffe, milk and a lot of colorants, impossible to imagine until you see them. But these are other stereotypes, so I must stop.