When you’re regularly employed, you tend to stay in a job until they run out of the money to pay you, or you get so fed up with it that you’re willing to go through the effort of finding a new one.Being a freelancer it’s different for me. My assignments tend to be relatively long-term (months at least), but still, I have to deal with the “what is my next job going to be” question with a much larger regularity.
One of those moments is coming up. My current assignment will end in a month and a bit time.
And I have a serious first-world-problem: New options are lining themselves up! And being human, I can do only one!
I won’t go into detail regarding any of them, but they are all different in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.
At a high level the choice is clear: The one that brings me the most happiness. But that’s a relatively abstract concept. And while I can perfectly tell you whether the activity I just did made me happy, it’s very hard to predict whether a given activity (especially something as long-lasting and complex as an assignment) will bring happiness and in which way.
Instead it’s somewhat easier focusing on elements that are important to me. Better pay is obviously good. Or perhaps I should go for a greater challenge? What do you optimize for?
A few things that I find important:
- The length of the assignment (a few months at least, but not a whole lot longer)
- Commute time (which is complicated a lot by having the feeling that I live both in London and Utrecht…)
- Working hours (less than 40 per week would highly preferred)
- Pay (the more money I make now, the sooner I can stop working for money)
- Meaningful work (I shouldn’t have gone into banking perhaps?)
- Freedom (things get so much better when you get to decide what you do and how you do it)
- Challenging work (nothing as bad as being bored, wishing it was 5!)
- Interesting colleagues (which is much easier to assess when you’re there for a long-term job instead of an assignment; “We pay you for that trick you can do, not to fraternize with the troops!”)
If I could pick a single item and optimize for that, things would be relatively simple. But in fact, I’d like the optimal solution for all (and more!) of the above. How many working hours per week is a slightly boring job worth? For what price freedom?
One more remark: There is one important thing that is emphatically not on the list above: Security.
”This (assignment) too shall pass.” (free after some long-dead poet). And in this my view (or perhaps my work) is inherently different from the long-term job that so many other people have. In the very beginning it was selected based on some form of optimization of items like the ones above. But I also think that “security” has long since taken over for many people on why they are still in the same place.
Are you optimizing for more than security?
I’m Bastiaan. This blog is meant to give you some insight into the things I run into and perhaps to inspire you to go in search of your own life extraordinaire.
If you enjoyed this (or another) post, if you have something to add or to ask, I would really appreciate it if you would leave a comment!