Tuesday, 16 January 2018
Work: more for less, or for nothing at all
This post, uniquely, will be pictureless.
One thing I know for sure: that freelancers like myself are being asked to do ever more for less, or for no pay at all - and no money we will sometimes take only if it doesn't set a bad example (intolerable, for example, the Independent online not paying its writers for some time, and some of them setting a terrible precedent for exploitation by accepting that).
This is a time of rapid change for the ever-pressed middle-classes and their once-dependable professions, paid writing of either a journalistic or a more in-depth sort especially, and areas of my work are drying up*. Others, well, it seems that either what a colleague helpfully (no, really) called my reactive nature has pissed people off - beware of tone in emails - or that some of those people I've been working for are not as nice as I thought they were. Who knows what reasons may proliferate of which one knows nothing when it comes to reaching the end of one working line - where it's not you but the situation (this radio programme needs younger voices, more women - well, that last was certainly overdue). I don't think I should get into that here - no-one wants these things of limited interest aired in public.
January is certainly the first month in over 30 years of freelance life where I've looked ahead and seen nothing in the short term other than my weekly classes and work for a certain website I love and respect which doesn't like it known that we're not paid - but we have to think of ourselves and the fact that people might think we're gainfully employed. Time to think of changing tack?
Finishing Prokofiev Volume Two - that needs to be done; in many ways it justifies my working existence more than anything as far as the future, posterity, call it what you will, is concerned, but it won't bring in any money. And it's always the way that when you have the time to do the most important things, the mind is obfuscated by worries so that best work isn't possible.
The path ahead, it seems, is more entrepreneurialism: it's time to stop depending on those once reliable sources. I never thought I could organise my way out of a paper bag, but thanks to mass e-mailing and xls sheets, plus a venue with which I instantly fell in love (the Frontline Club), I got the Opera in Depth course up and running within a month or so of giving up at the City Lit. More of the same may be the future.
These are early morning thoughts after waking up panicked for the second time this month. Filing them now and obviously decided to post if you're reading them. Just a realistic intermezzo. It would be good for others to share experience in the comments - I realise I may be calling into the void, but it's always good to know I am not alone (and I know I am not there are others in a far worse situation. I have a home and the best, most supportive partner in the world).
Normal service, with photographs, will be resumed as soon as possible.
*Addendum (7 February): e-chatting with a programme editor who wanted a reprint about the shortage of new notes, she pointed out that if only old ones were being used, that made her post, especially as commissioner, redundant as well.