Freelancers Don’t Get Fridays

Happy Friday, everyone who works a day job. You did it! You made it! You completed your allotted and required hours of work and now you can go home and do whatever you want! It must feel like hell watching the clock creep by until the weekend begins. But when you reach the end of the day today — you’ll be finished with work until somewhere around 9 a.m. Monday.

I don’t know what this feels like.

As a freelancer, I don’t experience the bliss of Fridays. There’s no joy of skipping out of the office at 5 p.m. on a Friday to the tune of the Mary Tyler Moore theme song. (I assume this is what everyone who works a day job does, right?) There’s no after-work weekend starting drinks with co-workers. There’s no clocking out.

It doesn’t help that I’m a workaholic. I freelance ’til I free-die. Live freelance AND die hard, you know what I’m saying? (You do? Good. Because I don’t.) Point is: I don’t have hours. I work until the work is done. My big play nights are probably Wednesdays and Thursdays because I usually have comedy shows on those nights and then I stay out afterwards.

For instance, I’m actually looking forward to tonight — not because my friends and I are strapping on our heels and heading to the local watering hole for some good times and shooters (I don’t know what people do to have fun) — but because I’ll have a solid uninterrupted few hours to finish an article I have to write. It’s due on Monday, which means I have all weekend to make it flawless. The weekend has just become my work week.

You know that horrible cliche in movies when a blind person asks a seeing person to describe the sunset? This is how I feel asking my day job friends about Fridays.

“Tell me, Junie. What’s a Friday like? I sure would like to see one someday!”

“It’s beautiful, Miss Gaby. It feels like freedom and ain’t no body have to do any work any more! Everybody rushes out into the streets, hearts burstin’ with the possibilities of the weekend! Why, they don’t even have to check their email five times a day!”

“What?! Now you’re just lyin’ to me!”

“I swear, Miss Gaby! Oh, I wish you could see it! People go to bars in their work clothes, but they loosen their ties or put on flip flops instead of high heels, that’s how eager they are to get to drinkin’ after the hard week of working they’ve had. And tomorrow, when they wake up, maybe they’ll even go to brunch with some friends!”

“I can picture it, Junie! It sounds…wonderful. Something I’ll never haveeeeee.”

Uh. Anyway, I’m just bitter about not having a consistent work or payment schedule. But freelancing’s merits outweigh its disadvantages for sure. I am much happier freelancing than I ever would be at a day job. And even when I was working as a reporter, I never really had a guarantee that my time off was my own — anything newsworthy could happen and I’d be right back in the office on a Sunday morning.

I work whenever I’ve got the time to. The important thing isn’t the hours, it’s getting the project done. Putting in my time doesn’t mean anything if I don’t turn something in on deadline. I manage my own work schedule and sometimes, I forget what day of the week it is.

What I’m saying is: if you have the beauty of Fridays, enjoy them. Live them to the fullest and never let go, Jack. You’ve earned this.

Go forth into the bar and order all the whiskey the barkeep has in stock. Go home and plug in and play video games until your eyeballs dry up and fall out. Eat chips and turn off your phone and scroll Tumblr for 17 hours. There’s no more work for you this fair evening. This is your time now. Godspeed. TC Mark

image – Library of Congress

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  • http://eugeneelder.blogspot.com Donald Elder

    It’s like you read my mind (or Twitter).

  • Casye

    The thing is, I would really rather have the lack of routine that comes with freelancing than the admittedly-wonderful Friday feeling. I hate working 8-5. It’s so monotonous.

    • Mary

      The difference between A and B personalities. I love monotony. Ok, not really MONOTONY. But I love knowing where I’m supposed to be, having a general idea of what I’m doing, and where my next paycheck is coming from. And health insurance. Freelancing did nothing but stress me out. I can see the appeal, but its just not for me. I’m glad there is a place for all types in this crazy world!

  • http://twitter.com/MissHezah Heather Sundell (@MissHezah)

    Day job or not, it’s all about priorities and making time for things you need or want to do. I have a day job and am also a struggling freelance writer, so in a way I am envious that you are successful and are afforded the luxury of doing what you want full time (even on your own time). Grass is always greener. That said, I’m really busy with work and my own writing, but I still try and make time for a social life, or even just “me” time on the couch.

    And honestly, going out to a bar on Fridays is almost impossible because you’re too damn exhausted from the week. Not as glamorous as you’d imagine, just as my fantasy of a free-spirited freelance life full of endless coffee and creativity probably isn’t very accurate.

  • http://justrealhappy.wordpress.com justrealhappy

    “But freelancing’s merits outweigh it’s disadvantages for sure.”

    You spelled ‘its’ incorrectly. Don’t do that in your article this weekend, okay?

  • E

    But freelancers do get… vacation whenever they want.

  • Khan13

    I sure as hell don’t get to leave work right at 5:30 if my work isn’t done, or not come into the office on th eweekend if I have some big thing due Monday… but I am required to be here 9 hours a day even if I am not that busy. Worst o fboth worlds? sweet. I think most people with full time jobs have the same issue? I’d kill to only work when I have work to do – whether that’s a t 8:30 am on Monday or 4 pm on a Sunday- I am luck enough tot do both sometimes.

  • http://twitter.com/mariannemichael Marianne M Chrisos (@mariannemichael)

    Heather – you just took all the words out of my soul.

    • http://twitter.com/MissHezah Heather Sundell (@MissHezah)

      :)

  • H

    Ah, E, I’m afraid it’s a myth that freelancers get holiday whenever they want. It’s easy to get caught in the trap of working 51 weeks a year because if the work’s coming in you don’t want to risk turning it down and then having a quiet patch. But I expect most freelancers would agree that this is a small price to pay because mostly, we love what we do.

  • Mary-Rose

    You are not alone. ‘Thank God it’s Friday!’ said no one who works in a restaurant ever.

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    […] Freelancers Don’t Get Fridays […]

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