So, What's Next?
I want to start off by thanking everyone for the feedback on my new website. Also, to everyone who has contributed and plans to contribute to the blog. The response has been incredible and I can’t wait to see what it turns into.
I’m not going to lie, I’m in this weird point in my life right now. Freelancing has been one of the best professional career moves I’ve made so far. I’ve had the opportunity to work for myself and learn new skills. But the reality, like a lot of freelancers face, is that this isn’t as lucrative as many think it is. For the past few months, I’ve been dipping my feet back into the job market. A few hits here and there, a couple of interviews but nothing solid. I’m torn between getting the regular 9-5 job again and trying to push forward with freelancing.
I've had the opportunity to work for some pretty great and some not-so great employers. The one thing that every great company that I've worked for had in common is a sense of belonging. Every employee felt valued, was listened to and could freely communicate with each other. That is very hard to find today. I have friends who still work in PR/AD agencies across the country describe the same story: long hours, always on call, low starting salary, little opportunity for advancement and the fear of losing a client which eliminates jobs.
I figured out pretty early that isn't much fun.
Another reality is the job market here in New Orleans. The city has seen an incredible rebound since Hurricane Katrina, but there are very few professional opportunities outside of the hospitality industry. Housing prices continue to rise, incomes remain flat, and crime does not seem to be getting any better.
New Orleans will always be my home, I’m sure of that. But I’m ready to get back out of the city and see what’s out there. No matter where I go, I know that my consulting business can travel with me. That’s one of the benefits of being a freelancer. Your work can go with you, your schedule is what you make it. You are your own boss. But with these advantages come a lot of other responsibilities. Your credit card company doesn’t care if you have 10 clients or none. Your lights don’t just stay on if a client doesn’t pay his or her invoice one month.
I've been putting off trying to get a part-time job to add some additional income. If I go back to waiting tables or bartending, I know that I'll become distracted and lose focus on my passion. But is work supposed to be fun? Are we all just supposed to “grow up” and do whatever makes ends meet?
My generation is the first to be better educated than our parents’ generation, but make less money and accrue more debt. Tough price to pay for the American dream. I’m learning more and more every day that I’m not happy when I settle. I'm not motivated to get out of bed in the morning when I know I'm just working from paycheck to paycheck. I want the freedom to make my own path, work with clients and colleagues I choose and grow in the process. But then again, I need to pay my credit card.
So, what's next?
As for jumping back in the job market, my sights are set outside of the Big Easy (looking for a place with lots of sand, sun and surf). Maybe my future lies outside of New Orleans, but I won’t let go of friends, colleagues and clients who’ve been there and continue to support me.
There are some great projects in the works with other likeminded freelancers that I'm pushing forward on. In the meantime, I can't wait to see where the journey takes me.