Freelance vs. Full-time. Which is Better for Tech Writers?

Posted in Technical Writing on 6/29/20184 min read

Laptop

The Internet gave us so much freedom. Back then, when it all began, we couldn’t even imagine how deeply it would affect our lives. With the development of the Internet, a big dilemma appeared that rings true for many office jobs, and, technical writing is one of them. At a point in time, not so long ago, thousands of people woke up, came to work, poured a cup of coffee, sat in front of the monitor, and a very unsettling thought came to them: can’t I just sit at home and do the same?

Office Life

Most employers are concerned about well being of their employees. They have their reasons. From the fear of their staff being solicited by another company to just being a good guy and wishing the best for their employees.

So, offices are now kind of becoming our second homes: with cookies, coffee machines, comfortable furniture, x-boxes, and what have you. Especially, if you are a technical writer working in IT. Big IT companies are famous for their extremely comfortable work environments. And, still, waking up early, getting to work, and having to sit in one place all day communicating with people you might not even like is a struggle for many. Especially for people with social anxieties.

The thing is - offices differ, so do teams. If you look properly, you can find a place that will suit you better, that’s for sure. Or, you can go on an adventure of a different kind and become a freelancer.

Freelance In a Nutshell

Coffee

For many people taking up freelancing sounds like a dream coming true. Well, sure, being independent and having no one to tell you how your day is supposed to go sounds great. Most documentation authoring software is now cloud-based, so, you are unlikely to experience any difficulties with getting you home PC/laptop ready for work.

Freelancing makes it possible to schedule your work around other daily activities. This is a huge advantage especially for people who have children. It also allows you to dive into your hobbies and have sufficient income from your main occupation at the same time. If you like taking pictures of nature, for example, now, you won’t miss this perfect fog because you are stuck in the office, or, you can stay up all night to take a picture of the full moon. But there is another side to freelance. Being a freelancer is actually not everyone’s cup of tea as it requires a lot of specific personal qualities.

Having no obvious boss basically means that you’ll have to be your own boss. You’ll have to manage yourself and be able to separate your personal life from your work i.e. have enough willpower to sit yourself down and do the work which can be a lot harder in the home environment.

Working at home can bring a lot of distractions. Social media, snacks, TV, your friends or family… it can get difficult because creating user manuals requires a lot of concentration. By the way, to fight off procrastination, you can try using the approaches described in this article. As far as friends and family are concerned, you’ll have to figure out a way to stop them from distracting you yourself :)

A freelancer should be really good at time management. Even if it seems that you now are in control of your work process - still, it is not you who will be setting deadlines.

office

Also, remember that your income can be quite inconsistent, too. Which means that, as a freelancer, you need to care about your savings and the way you spend money a bit more.

Psychology

There are more things to consider here, from the point of view of psychology. Let’s talk about personal traits that can be affecting your choice of whether to be a freelancer or not. The first and the most obvious thing is whether you are an extravert or an introvert. It is clear that being an introvert doesn’t equal being a hermit, not talking to people and hating parties. It can simply mean that an introvert can handle time alone better. This aspect can be intertwined with another one. Before choosing between office work and freelance, ask yourself: am I a team player?

team

For some people being part of a team gives additional motivation to get the job done, they enjoy the team spirit and like to share both responsibilities and success with others. And, there are others, the ones who like to work independently and don’t get too excited about the idea of being a team player.

If you are a team player, freelance might be a bit disappointing for you. Of course it is not a valid reason to put your thoughts about working independently on hold, as you can have other activities in your life that will incorporate teamwork and the fun that goes along with it. But be mindful of the fact that work is still going to take a lot of time daily, so choose wisely.

Conclusion

In this article we’ve attempted to show you the differences between being a freelancer and an office worker. Weighing out pros and cons, reflecting on your personal traits and strong sides will help you choose what’s right for you. Good luck! :)

Good Luck with your technical writing!
ClickHelp Team
Author, host and deliver documentation across platforms and devices

 

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