When are you going to get a proper job?
Some people just don't understand that freelancing can be a realistic career
After I quit my marketing job because they asked me to return to the Oxford office for no discernible reason, having approved my relocation to Sheffield last November, I knew I was at a crossroads. Should I pursue a more senior marketing role that would come with a substantial pay rise, or should I follow my passion and apply for a journalism role?
In truth, I’ve been putting in applications for both. Since the beginning of July, I’ve had a handful of interviews, with two outright rejections so far. In more positive news that I shared in last week’s newsletter, I’ve managed to bag myself three days a week working across the lifestyle sections of various Reach PLC titles — which includes doing lots of fun online content for OK! magazine.
Cue me trying to explain to my parents what freelancing means when you’re doing in-house shifts rather than pitching your ideas to editors. My parents had just about got their head around the idea that I was emailing editors with pitches, and sometimes being commissioned anywhere from £40-£1,000 for a story. Now they are having to compute that I’m not a salaried staff member, even though I’m working for the same company each week —and they seem to think that my situation is a precarious one. When I shared with my Mum the news that one of my pieces was performing well last week, she said: “That’s great, tell your editor to give you a proper job then!”
I rolled my eyes because I do have a proper job. I know what my mum meant, though, she meant ‘stable job’. To some extent, she has a point — being freelance on a casual basis means you are working for the publication for as long as they need you for. The editors I’m working for could turn around at any point and say “thanks but we don’t need you anymore”. Additionally, one of my goals is to buy my own house in the next two years. I’m halfway there with saving for a deposit, but I need to prove to lenders that I have a stable source of income in order to get approved for a mortgage. So realistically speaking, the freelance life (without a supplementary form of income like I had before with my marketing job) probably isn’t a long-term solution for me.
But that’s not to say it’s not a viable way to make a living. If buying property isn’t on your to-do list, then there’s absolutely no reason at all why being a freelancer isn’t a good option. Yes, it’s more complicated than working for a company that automatically deducts your national insurance, student loan contributions, and pays into a company pension for you. But if you do your research into freelancer finance (the Gov.co.uk website and Anna Codrea-Rado’s book You’re the Business: How to Build a Successful Career When You Strike Out Alone are great starting points), then there’s no reason why you can’t make it work. But if that is the life you choose for yourself, you’ve got to accept that some relatives just won’t be able to wrap their heads around it — and that’s OK.
… in editing
Sad news at The Indiependent this week as veteran contributor and film editor Steph Green stepped down alongside our brill music news editor, Harriet Fisk, to focus more on their respective careers. We’ll be recruiting internally to replace them, but it feels like the end of an era so I got a bit emosh. This week I edited two pieces — Mary Atkinson’s review of the new Against The Current EP, and Sarah Taylor’s interview with Villanelle and The Northern Wonder (who you should definitely listen to if you like The Last Shadow Puppets).
… in writing
I didn’t pitch anywhere other than at work this week. Basically, after I completed my assigned workload, I ran some ideas by the editor who liked two of my piece ideas. Here they are:
Articles written: 7
Articles published: 5
I was assigned two online stories on both Monday and Tuesday, and one on Wednesday in addition to three regular print features. Here are the ones already online:
… in listening/watching
I saw Summer of Soul last week which is a documentary about the Harlem Cultural Festival, and I went to the cinema again this week with my boyfriend and saw the new Matt Damon film, Stillwater, which I would highly recommend.
… in reading
I’ve been reading Billy Bragg’s Roots, Radicals and Rockers: How Skiffle Changed The World after my boyfriend bought me the book as a present
The Indiependent’s departing film editor Steph Green wrote this feature on ‘10 great neo-giallo films’ — see, isn’t she just brilliant?
Eleanor Halls of The Telegraph has a brilliant newsletter called ‘Pass the Aux’ and her piece with Amelia Tait was a great insight into finding ideas and upping your word rate
I LOVE New Girl so much, so I adored Bolu Babalola’s Bustle interview with Jake Johnson: ‘Jake Johnson refuses to admit he’s a romantic’
The Guardian’s Sirin Kale is hosting a 1-hour PressPad Remote masterclass on ‘How I covered the Noel Clarke investigation’ at 7.00 pm on 19 August — register here.
Edinburgh (remote): Home Store + More is looking for a social media PR executive
Kingston-upon-Hull: The BBC is hiring a sports editor for Radio Humberside
Newcastle: JPI Media is hiring a digital journalist
Northampton: JPI Media is hiring a trainee journalist
North Wales: Reach PLC is hiring a local democracy reporter
Salford: The BBC is hiring a data journalist
South Yorkshire (remote): A public sector organisation needs a press officer