The Future of Work Notes

Work Notes is changing direction.

What started as a few articles on my approach to dealing with some common freelance issues has grown to include:

Add in the slot machine of social media and this is much too much for one person. Especially as a side project: I rely on client work to pay the bills.

What happens next will be no surprise to anyone:

Burn. Out.

Talking this through with a friend, he described the project as requiring “that you’re always on call”. This is a great description, particularly when big things are happening in the freelance world.

Keeping up with and responding to All The Things in a timely manner just isn’t feasible, especially in the medium or long-term.

The nature of advice

Something else that’s struck me is the breadth of the freelance workforce. Representation of freelancers online, particularly on social media, might lead us to believe that freelance landscape is filled only with a handful of job areas, but there are freelancers making a living in almost all sectors.

The coronavirus pandemic has reiterated how complex this landscape is, particularly when considering who has – or has not – benefitted from financial support. Many freelancers, who would consider themselves self-employed, quickly discovered that they were not.

And they’re not alone. Anyone who falls into one of the following categories might have received a disproportionately low support payment or may have been excluded entirely:

  • Those who work short-term PAYE-to-PAYE jobs
  • Freelancers who went on maternity leave during the assessed period
  • Those with average earnings over £50,000
  • Those (not that) recently self-employed

Just to name a few.

An old musician friend of mine once said, “the more I learn about jazz, the more amazed I am that anyone can play anything”. And that’s a fairly accurate description of what I feel now towards writing about freelancing.

Looking back at some of the things I’ve written, much of it should have been prefaced with an acknowledgement that it’s only a reflection of what has worked for me in the past.

Of course, that may be useful to some people, but the breadth and complexity of the freelance landscape makes it difficult to write things that can be widely useful. After all: who has that breadth of experience?

Slow mode

This is all to say that Work Notes is going to slow down, both for my own well-being and the quality of content.

The Freelance Guide is still in progress, I addressed some of these concerns in the Foreword, but other articles will be slower, and more considered.

That goes for social media, too.

Supporters: Independent Work will continue to exist, of course! But I understand these changing circumstances might cause you to reconsider supporting Work Notes. If you need help cancelling a subscription, please get in touch.