I am far from unemployed
Monday was the beginning of my third week working independent. And these three weeks have been a lot of fun. Very busy, but fun. However one thing that surprised me was the reaction from others when they asked what I do for a living.
The most typical reaction I have been getting from local friends and acquaintances who are full time employees is sympathy. Phrases like "Well you gotta do what you gotta do." or "Things will turn around, the economy is improving."
No no NO!
I chose this path. I wasn't forced to go independent as a result of a layoff or the inability to find full time employment. I love what I do and I love that I am able to help other businesses who need my skills and experience.
This reminds me of a blog post a friend shared years ago, that has now been lost, which described an Entrepreneur's move from the Midwest to the West Coast. He too was taken back at the differences in reactions. Generally a Midwest-ern would say something out of pity or look at him as if he were jobless. While the people he talked to in the West Coast would get excited and share their own dreams of starting something new.
I am far from unemployed and so are the plethora of other software freelancers out there. Sure we may have downtime, but that is just one part of our world. So the next time you are talking to someone who mentions they are independent, and you feel sorry for them, mentally check yourself. If you like the guy or gal, ask for their business card and pass it to someone you think would need their services or tweet/blog about the great interaction you had with them.
I appreciate that way more than sympathetic encouragement.
This article took off on Hacker news and there was a lot of great feedback both for and against this post.