The important part of making a living is in fact, the living aspect. Freelance can be difficult, heartbreaking, and cut throat. Living month-to-month eagerly waiting that Net-30 check to come in is exciting but definitely defeating. This is where a lot of people search for full-time work, and I was no different.
Full time typically means you work 40+ hours a week for a single employer. I’ve done it, left it, and am right back at it again.
Some of the Pros are just opposites of Freelance cons but let me elaborate on them a bit.
- Steady Pay – Now I know what I’m getting paid every week, can plan accordingly and now I am able to have a decent savings account (it’s above 20 cents). There’s a huge relief lifted off my shoulders. My lowest point-working freelance was selling most of my camera gear to pay for my bills. It hurt and I never want to be in that position again.
- Benefits – Benefits are really important. I never knew how much I liked health insurance until I needed it. Paid Time Off is also unheard of in the Freelance game; You don’t work, you don’t get paid. Retirement? As I’ve been told, it's never too early to start. Your full-time employer typically has you covered.
- Equipment – As a full-time employee, I'm not responsible for any equipment that needs to be purchased. Going into a new photographer, editor, or videographer position, a new employer understands I’ll need some gear to work and I'm not expected to use my own. Getting my start in the creative field, this is how I got my hands on some awesome new toys and became proficient with industry standard gadgets.
- Broaden Your Experience – While I was hired as the Photo/Video Specialist, I’m often doing many things outside my area of expertise. I now have a few years marketing under my belt because of it. I never thought I’d use InDesign, but today I can say I’m proficient in it. These are all skills I’ve learned working full-time and can take with me to other jobs.
- Freedom – Full-time means Full Time. I'm expected to be at my job 5 days a week, 8hrs a day…this can get really old really fast. Freelance, I often found myself doing things as I wished and making my own schedule. Now I’m on someone else’s clock 40hrs a week and they expect me to be there. I miss the days I could stay up late editing because my shoot the next day didn’t start until noon. Now every day starts at 7 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m.
- Lack of Variety – Currently I’m working on product photos and instructional videos on how to use our products… for the 4th time this year. It’s all planned out, paint by numbers, and no deviation wanted. It doesn’t exactly get my creative juices flowing. Many hours of my day are spent cutting photos out in Photoshop or adding technical copy to a brochure. I want to be doing something risky, exciting, and ambitious.
- Low Budget – While the employer is responsible for your gear, often times they don’t see a need to purchase a light kit or microphone. They have a T2i with a kit lens and their Apple ear buds have a microphone, “can't we just use that”. I’ve found that many employers aren’t looking for commercial quality, they are looking for something a little better than what they can currently do. I don’t know how many times I’ve been told to “Just be creative”, with a treatment that at least needs a decent tripod.
I work full-time now and I try to balance its cons with outside creative work. It often leaves me with zero weekends and work overload, but it’s what I have to do to stay sane.
How do you like your full-time job? Are you looking to go back to freelance? I’d like to know what you think.