YP Perspective: Making the Leap from Employee to Independent

Posted by: Pulse Young Professionals on Monday, August 3, 2015
Recently, I’ve read numerous articles that highlight how the younger generation of moms (i.e. current young professionals) are placing less focus and importance on career advancement in order to be more available for their children. The trend among young moms is to opt for part-time/flex-time work over returning to the working world full-time while their children are young. As of 2014, the number of moms who decide to stay home is also on the rise. I am a prime example of these trends. Since the birth of my first child in 2012, I have sought to find the right “fit” for me as a working mom. I have worked part-time/flexible hours, full-time and as a short-term contractor. I’ve learned a great deal along the way about my industry and enjoyed the journey. Most importantly, I learned that working for someone else while trying to also manage a household, marriage and children was simply not for me. With the birth of my second child earlier this year, I knew it was time for a change. So, let’s get to the point, shall we? The same factors that are leading our generation, millennials in particular, to desire flexible hours and greater work-life balance are also contributing to the growing trend of workers leaving their 9-to-5 company jobs and choosing to work for themselves. We (YPs) want the freedom to choose our clients, to work hours that best fit our lifestyles and the flexibility to enjoy the lives we work so hard to finance. Some of us, like me, want more time with our children. For others, we desire the ability to travel, act, volunteer, do missionary work or even train for American Ninja Warrior. So, if it’s so great, why isn’t everyone jumping on the independent bandwagon? Well, it certainly isn’t the right fit for everyone. When working for a company, you have access to benefits like insurance, paid time off, a retirement plan, and the stability of a steady paycheck. When you’re independent, you don’t. Beyond this, it takes a good network to make independent contracting a sustainable choice. You need clients to be successful--at least one or two--and if you haven’t spent a good deal of time building up your professional network prior to making the leap, finding steady work will be a lot more challenging. And lastly, not all jobs can be done as an independent contractor: some careers simply require working for an organization. How to transition: If you are seeking a more balanced and flexible existence, independent contracting might be the answer for you.
  • Begin by reaching out to your network, asking lots of questions, forging new connections and seeing if your career path fits within the independent contractor framework.
  • Next, if you don’t already have one, find a mentor. Mentors are a great resource for networking, knowledge and feedback.
  • Finally, evaluate the pros and cons prior to making any sort of career move. Think through next steps and have a back-up/escape plan if things don’t go as hoped.
Enjoy and good luck to you, your career and your future! Read more about current workplace trends and freelancing: About the Author: Megan is the Owner/Principal of Finnern Consulting LLC. Over that past 10 years, she has held positions in marketing and client relations in both corporate and agency environments. As an Independent Contractor, Megan provides project management and marketing services to growing businesses including Quality Business Solutions, Inc. and BRIGHT+CO. This is Megan's third year on the Pulse Marketing Committee. Outside of Pulse, she has been active with the Greenville Chamber, Rotaract, Greenville Family Partnership and Meals on Wheels of Greenville. She serves on the Fall for Greenville and American Red Cross Upstate Chapter Boards as well as the Advisory Council for Rebuild Upstate (formerly ReWiGo Ministries). In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, fitness – especially in the outdoors – and spending time with her husband Mike and daughters Eileen and Della.

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