‘Office workers dressed like folks relaxing on the weekend… individuality and self-expression… valued over conformity to organisational norms… a time when the old order has broken down, when flux and uncertainty themselves seem to be part of the everyday norm’
The claim on how most talented and wanted people in the creative industry tend to stray from the formal working hours have struck a chord in me. As a freelancer, I have always feared the insecurities of being jobless. There is no stability in the income yet there are plenty out there who work in flexible hours, without routinised ways. In my past experiences, I have rarely come across freelancers staying as freelancers without looking for more stable jobs. However, in Australia, it seems to be a norm in hiring contracts or casual workers in the creative industry. In my opinion, working as freelancers or less routinised ways, tend to churn out creative ideas better than office workers. In a sense, with a calm and flexible environment, we are less stressed and we are able to push our creativity to its limits.
Moving on in the readings, issues on media labour work and hiring “interns” to do all the odd jobs. There are work ethics issues and debates on these issues. What really strike me in the readings was about finding the solution to minimising exploitations. I have heard plenty complaints on being taken for granted and having interns on unpaid jobs for more than six months. But, why isn’t there anything on finding solutions to these problems? I agree with the readings that there is no definite answer to prevent these problems but Hesmondhalgh (2011) has brought an interesting solution to the table which was finding another “model of labour that is flexible enough to account” for such exploitation issues. Due to the informal structure, people tend to blend the volunteering aspect with interning for experiences. As mentioned, we should have a model that allows us to distinguish the differences between those two categories – volunteering and training.
That being said, freelancing is not just for gaining exposure anymore. Some creative people take freelancing as a job now and there should be a standard policy or at least a guideline to prevent the abuse of casual workers. This week’s readings definitely resonates strongly with me as I started out using freelancing as a way to gain exposure and doing odd jobs to gain experience. What would happen if I were to start taking freelancing as my bread and butter?