- An employee takes breaks according to company policy; whereas a freelancer can take a break whenever they choose. Perhaps the freelancer decides to rise at 9 am, or they decide to take the dog for a walk or collect their children from school; so even though both the employee and freelancer are still expected to deliver the goods, the freelancer has fewer constraints and a lot more flexibility.
- The income of an employee is limited, whereas a freelancer’s income is unlimited. The higher the freelance translators rate, the more clients they have, or the more hours they work each day, the more they get paid. This is different to overtime because overtime is dependent on the needs of the business and is not within the employee’s control.
- An employee in an executive position works long hours and rarely sees their children during daylight hours. Typically, they’ll see them on weekends, but the children will usually be in bed when they arrive home in the evening, and still in bed when they leave in the mornings. The freelancer, on the other hand, creates a schedule to ensure they have quality time to spend with their children both in the mornings and after they return from school.
- The employee can become very ‘stressed’ by pressures at work, whereas a freelancer can be ‘challenged’ by a specific translation project. There’s a big difference between being stressed and challenged.
The point we’re trying to make here is that freelance translators are not controlled by fear because they have ways of dealing with that fear; such as getting rid of a client if they don’t like working for them. If they have a client who is a poor or late payer, then they simply fire that client and find a better quality client. If working during the day doesn’t work for them, then they work at nights. If they have a large project to work on which takes up many days/nights, then they adjust their schedule to allow for extra time off. Basically, it means that the freelance translator takes full control of, and assumes responsibility for, every aspect of their life. An employee does not enjoy these luxuries.
So, What Really Is Happiness?
And that’s why we were discussing fear earlier in this post; because a person who is happy is a person who has a minimal amount of fear in their life. We know for sure that a freelance translator has fears, but the difference between a freelance translator and an employee is that the freelancer has the power to make choices, the choice to avoid, circumvent, overcome, correct, repair, replace, modify, and alter those fears – and this is what the employee does not have. We understand that this is a generalization, and generalizations can cause a lot of arguments, but one thing we know for sure is that a freelancer has the ability to handle the ups and downs more effectively than a full-time employee. And again, this is just a matter of opinion; and there will be people with valid arguments to show that a full-time employee has a sense of security far superior to the uncertainty of the freelance translator’s life. But, is there really such a thing as job security? For the past few decades we’ve been living in an unpredictable financial climate, and it seems that no-one really has job security.
Happiness Is Not the Absence of Fear!
We can see then that being happy is not the absence of fear; it’s leading a life armed the appropriate tools to deal with fear. And that’s exactly what the life of a freelance translator entails. Most, if not all, translation professionals will have experienced these fears, and will have overcome them. Fear is simply a fact of life and must be treated as a problem to be dealt with appropriately: fear is not an enemy to be avoided at all cost. Happiness belongs to those people who understand this!