Have you ever wondered why it seems that a younger person in today’s workforce would normally prefer working as a freelancer over working in a corporate setting?
About two years ago, I walked away of my corporate position. I was making well over six figures as an engineering manager. I didn’t leave because I hated it. Most days, I actually liked it. I left because it wasn’t working for me and the lifestyle I craved. And I am not that different than many others in my generation. I am a millennial, and we would rather be working as a freelancer than stuck in the 9-5 grind.
Why is that? Why would I leave a corporate position with loads of benefits and the safety net of a guaranteed salary for the world of freelancing? It is the age of the online freelancer, and millennials are taking full advantage.
Here are the 4 reasons a millennial would prefer working as a freelancer over going corporate.
Millennials prioritize family over work. We work so that we can live, not the other way around. Work doesn’t define us as it commonly did for older generations. So, when we start having children, something has to give. We no longer want to spend our entire day locked in the office. We’d rather work early mornings, during nap times and after the kids go to bed … or whatever works in our unique schedules. We want to spend more time with our kids, and the corporate environment doesn’t come with that luxury in most cases. Working as a freelancer gives us those benefits. We get to pick our hours, and those hours do not necessarily have to be the same week after week. Being a parent isn’t always conducive to a 9 to 5, and often doesn’t follow any type of schedule at all.
With the flexibility of freelancing, work-family balance becomes a lot more achievable. We can still earn great money without sacrificing our most important priorities, unlike the vast majority of corporate positions in the world.
Millennials are smart. We are savvy with our time, even in the midst of all of the social media and constant interruptions of technology. Because we are smart with our time, we know that we are more productive working from home than in a traditional office. Not everyone works most efficiently in the same ways. We can get more accomplished and make a bigger impact working as a freelancer than we ever could in a corporate setting because we have control and can make decisions based on our personal preferences. And we have all of the tools we want and need at our disposal because we are not reliant on a company’s budget or corporate policies.
Working as a freelancer means that you get to choose where you work, what you wear and how you manage your time. So, if you work best in a Starbucks, go for it! If you work better on the couch in your pajamas, that is fine too. When you don’t work in an office setting, you are free to figure out what works best for you and your productivity.
Corporate positions used to be considered the more lucrative and compelling deal when compared to working as a freelancer, but that reality is shifting. The truth is that many freelancers make more money working as a freelancer than they did anywhere else. But what is really interesting is that millennials are more willing to give up the stability and security of the corporate world because they are bored. The millennial generation needs stimulation and mental growth, and most corporate jobs become quite monotonous over time. Working as a freelancer gives options because you are able to choose different types of work depending on your preferences and tastes. And you can shift gears any time you like if things start to get boring.
And because of the flexibility that comes with working as a freelancer, you will have more time during the day to pursue learning new skills, pursue self-development and rid yourself of the monotony life can bring.
I already mentioned that the millennial generation appreciates time more than older generations. Because of this, we absolutely hate wasting it. As the average commute time increases across the country, more millennials are looking for a way out. We understand how valuable our time is, and we aren’t fond of spending that precious resource stuck in a car on the way to and from our work.
The corporate world is full of other time wasters as well. Endless meetings, cooler talk and redundancy seem to be built in. When a millennial realizes just how much time is wasted throughout the day, week and even over a whole year, we get concerned. Working as a freelancer takes all of those time wasters out of the picture. We don’t have long commutes (most of us work directly from home). And when we conduct or participate in meetings, they can be much more efficient than in a corporate setting.
The millennial generation has spoken. Our priorities have shifted from older generations, and we tend to value our freedom, our families and our flexibility over our work. Because we still must earn a living, we have shifted the way we want to bring in money. Working as a freelancer affords us the luxury of our time, our unique preferences and productivity, and control over our daily schedules. Freelancing is becoming more popular as the millennial generation takes over the workforce. And for good reason.
Since leaving my corporate position, I have been able to enjoy life working as a freelancer. I make a great income, and I have more free time than I’d ever had before. It was the best career decision I have ever made.
If you are a millennial who feels stuck in a corporate setting, take a few moments to research if your skills to could be put to use working as a freelancer. Most people find that there is a freelancing niche for everyone.
And if you are interested in trading in the corporate life for a freelancing career, consider applying to be a freelancer on the FreeUp platform. The founders of FreeUp make it easy to find clients, log hours and get paid.
Melissa Ricker is a nuclear engineer and a professional freelance writer specializing in career growth, technical writing and online entrepreneurship. She writes a blog, Engineered Motherhood, for working mothers who need help balancing career growth and time management.
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