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Stay freelancing or go for offered permanent position. WWYD?

(4 Posts)
FaddyPeony Tue 08-Oct-13 21:34:29

This is a bit long, sorry.

I've been freelancing for about 15 months and have been surprised by how well I got on with working from home. I started doing it part-time when DC was tiny - found a great CM nearby, went for part-time hours, and just gave it a go. I was familiar with the client and I just sort of hit the ground running.

Except that after a good spell of 12 months or so, the work had totally dried up in the last 3. In a way I didn't notice too much and welcomed the free time since I had a lot of other things going on in my life, including some exciting creative work that is close to my heart but doesn't pay the bills.

I recently applied for a permanent position and got a callback very quickly. I've done one interview and am lined up to do another this week. It's full-time. Then just today I got a call about the prospect of some further freelance work, but it doesn't look definite and I know I can't count on it.

The work that I do doesn't exactly excite me, but when I was just freelancing part-time I enjoyed dipping into it. I dread the thought of a permanent full-time gig -- the commute, having to play the promotion game, all that stuff, plus not having any extra time for the personal creative work that I love doing on the side. On the other hand I need a pension and a plan (and possibly paid maternity leave at some point) -- right?

WWYD? I am 30. Should I be wearing my sensible career hat right now, do you think?

MrsMargoLeadbetter Wed 09-Oct-13 16:23:32

I'd ask - do you think the downturn can happen again? And did you do everything you could to generate new business?

If it was a blip and/or you didn't try (or try hard enough - not a criticism just asking if there was potential you maybe didn't capitalise on) to find more work it sounds like freelance could still be an option for you.

If you spent 3 months frantically business developing and it was all very stressful/hard then I would consider an employed role.

One thing I would suggest you do - if you haven't already - is to plug in the numbers into Excel. You might find that employed doesn't paid that much more after increased childcare esp if you need to change to a nursery if your CM cannot offer increased hours. And you miss out on the potential earnings whereas employed gives you a set but reliable salary.

Re a pension. I try to contribute to a pension myself as I am self-employed. I see it as important as paying tax etc. I am just aware that DH is continuing to pay into his employer pension and you never know what the future holds etc. And we are all benefitting from me working flexibly.

Re Mat leave it depends what sector you are in but some orgs only pay stat benefits which you get as self-employed as long as you have paid NI.


FaddyPeony Wed 09-Oct-13 22:56:51

Thank you so much for your response MrsMargo. It's left me with some good questions to pose to myself.

It's true that I could have done more during the dry spell. I was used to one regular, straightforward source of work and when that dried up I did only perfunctory sniffings-around to see what else there was (was v busy with other stuff and rather welcomed the break, if not the lack of income).

It's a good idea to get Excel on the job re. the numbers. I am annoyed with myself because wrt the potential new role, I think I have already done that thing that many women do -- under-priced myself in terms of salary expectations. I wasn't expecting it to come up that early in the (phone) conversation and it kind of threw me. Anyway, that's another matter. I think DP is eager for me to go back FT so that we can start putting away some proper money but I'm not convinced that he's thought the reality through re. the childcare issue. I have really liked being able to earn money in a peaceful house for a few hours every morning and then spend all afternoon with dd - gosh when I write that now it almost sounds like the holy grail for working mothers doesn't it.

Anyway, thanks again for your insight. And you are right, by the way, I need to get a pension sorted whatever I do.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Thu 10-Oct-13 08:09:07

No worries.

If you go for freelance I guess you could try to seek a couple of regular gigs to minimise the reliance on one. I do that - I find it too stressful to have no work booked in. It suits me having a lower paid retained contract as a base.

It does sound like a good set up, but only if it is what you want.

I am on mat leave and was contemplating job seeking following looking at our childcare costs when I go back to freelancing/work.

However, it was an excel exercise that showed me the various options and actually doing 2 days of my retained contract only brought in a little less than if worked in a really full on senior role (like I had before) for 4 days and actually I could potentially bring in more on top etc.

It is so difficult to put a "value" on the ability to be flexible/be there for them when you have children at home. DS started school last Sept and I have managed to not work most holidays before I went on mat leave and attend in school time meetings etc.

If I were you (and apologies for any HR/recruitment people reading) I'd go to the interview even if you are unsure. That way you'll be making a decision on an actual (eg a job offer, if they give one) situation. You can always try to up the salary, even if you said one thing, just say "On reflection I believe this role is worth £xx". If they want you they'll pay it.

It is probably also worth talking to DH about how it will need to work if you are full time - sharing childcare drops, sharing sick days etc if that is an option and hopefully it is.

Good luck. Do let me know what you decided/how you get on.

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