Friday, 30 May 2008

Work (9 to 5 vs Freelance)

The Salaryman battery hen lives a 9 to 5 existence cooped in a vast machine of identical chickens, all fed at rote intervals. Freelance Brer Rabbit has a more bucolic existence, though fraught with intervals of financial terror stalking through the carrot patch like an irate Brer Fox.

The salarymen dress in the blue button-down shirt and pleated slacks uniform of their ilk, trudging through the rush hour like moulded marching lego men on the M1 conveyor belt.

Your space is a cubicle, or Veal Fattening Pen, similar to those favoured by battery hen farmers, with all the coziness of an airport toilet. Attempts at homely touches such as a picture of the kids, and a “You don’t have to be mad to work here, but it helps” sticker all add to the crushing pathos. Furtive attempts at concentration are frazzled by the cacophony of chirruping telephones, grinding printers, and Mabel from admin discussing her eczema in distressing detail.

Management attempts to prop up lagging morale with 3-star hotel corporate bonding events about as cool as watching your Dad dance drunk. You endure cheap champagne and fake bonhomie with co-workers you’d run a mile from if you saw them in a normal social context. Your boss press-gangs you into organized activities the like of which you haven’t been forced into since school.

Freelance man wears slovenly clothes you normally wouldn’t even watch TV in. The rush hour becomes like a distant war in the third-world; it sounds awful, but it doesn’t really affect you.

Have laptop will travel. Your space is preferably on a deck chair by the pool. That’s the fantasy anyway. Try this at home and you’ll get bugger all work done as you stare blissfully into space, hypnotized by the rhythmic chugging of the Kreepy Krawly.

Rather than corporate bonding, take as many holidays as you want, when you want- if you can afford them. Money in the freelance world is like fishing. You’re in a pleasant setting, but catch no fish and it’s end-of-the-month salticrax for dinner.

Battery farm or free range- it’s your choice I suppose- but I’m glad I’m typing this beside my pool, rather than in a veal fattening pen.

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