I sometimes feel a bit like I’ve sold out (for lack of a better term), because I currently work a generic job that hasn’t got much to do with my skills, interests or education.
Making Career Choices
I was at an alumni research / student-alumni networking even last week at one of my old unis and I mentioned to a few people that I work this generic, non-career, permanent job right now, half feeling like I’d be excluded for not being dedicated to finding a career position.
Instead I was met with a bit of jealousy (not in an unkind way) from people who are in the contract to contract trenches. Which is a place I was for many, many years. It’s also the reason I spent so much time and effort to find a permanent job. It’s hard not planning, personal, financial or otherwise. It’s hard not knowing if funding for your position will be renewed.
My eventual goal is to drop one day per week from my day job and freelance that one day per week. At most, I’d look to work three days per week at a a day job and two days freelance. I think that would be a good combination of job security and career interest for me.
I honestly don’t know how much freelance work people will accept in my field. I don’t think it’s much of a “done thing”. I do get the feeling you’re supposed to just be ok with contract work in person. As I wrote about here, I’m not ok with that. I think this day job/freelance combination is my attempt to have some career control over an area that is always at the whims of funding. It’s not often spoken about. But I believe that the reality of contracts and casualisation does need to be spoken about. I think the more open we are that these variables of funding and lack of security have a very real impact on people’s lives, the more we can encourage people to proactively find a way of making it work for them, rather than the current model, which feels a bit like passively sitting around and hoping for a contract renewal.
I would ideally also like to find a day job that is closer to home, so I can save time on commuting. If it’s closer to home, I may not even have to drop a day per week – but that is something that I can only tell at the time, and I don’t think you can really plan that level of detail.
I think a combination of day job and freelance will work for me – professionally, personally and financially. It might not work for you. But I think we need to have these discussions – what combinations have you tried? What has worked for you? Did it stop working? Do you know why it stopped working? All of these reasons, topics and the general “find what works for my life, not your life” is why I still can’t wait to start the Side Gig Life podcast. I want to talk about this. I want to give people ideas and inspiration, as well as the encouragement to find what career choice works for them, rather than what career choice you “should” make.
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Have you ever struggled with the combination of life and career and interests? And would you like to be on the podcast?