Lunch Spree: Life as a Freelancer and the at-Risk Finances

What’s Going Through My Boss’s Mind When He or She Returns to the Office?

A growing number of employers are hiring temporary or independent contractors as their primary on-the-job employers, and the wider they bring in gig workers, the more at-risk employers are of managing all kinds of unexpected issues with their employees, from unpredictable schedules to gross client interactions. Many of the managers, supervisors, and business owners we interview for this piece say their biggest worry about returning to the office is whether their new contractors will keep a lid on their enthusiasm. (Maybe that’s a good thing; sometimes we may feel more at home than we would in our regular jobs.) As such, some employers are setting up their employee networks or creating workshops on what they need to do to keep everyone in check.

– Chloe Angyal


4 Problems With Working Overtime as an Independent Contractor

Let’s dive into some of the biggest drawbacks of being a contract worker, according to three Washington-area freelancers.

– Chris Zabazaba


5 Things Human Resource Managers Would Like You to Know

1. The Managers’ Switching Costs

It’s not easy to come up with a new pre-employment vetting process when you’re only working with clients. “Even the . . . company that you have an employment relationship with is not responsible for holding you to the same standards as a traditional employee,” says Sara L. Michel, who has a master’s degree in organizational behavior.

– Kris Emery


1. The Security Issue

When going through background checks before signing a new contract with a company, companies are required to develop and present a plan of action for hiring a contractor. Failure to do so can result in costly legal action by the government, says Kenneth N. Peters, who manages the non-profit transportation think tank TransitCenter.

– Sandra Shaheen


2. The Rich/Poor Conflicts

There’s often little transparency regarding the compensation given to freelance contractors. Even if you’re told the company pays per task, should you actually see the dollar amount before accepting? If you’re a professional, maybe yes. Shouldn’t you see the dollar amount before accepting less? When you’re not collecting a salary, shouldn’t it matter as well?

– Kimberly Surridge


3. The Media Saturation

Your work and personality are just so well-known that you’re more likely to get the kinds of media coverage that you feel is appropriate to your identity. One woman whose firm charged individuals a flat rate for services concluded, “What really bothers me is clients who do this press, they are not bound by the same media standards as the owner.”

– Syed Zafar Mahmood


4. The Prone Host

It is nearly impossible to negotiate the first day back at work after a three-week vacation. One freelance journalist for a major metropolitan paper says she was thrilled to get back to work, but learned a lot from the experience. “Everyone is going to say, ‘Yeah, OK,’ and just ignore you for a little while,” she says.

– Libby Hill


5. The Owned/Employed/Palatable

Confused yet? Work permits differ for freelancers, contractors, and partnered employees. Know your legal rights.

– John Larson


Freelance columnist: Columnist/writer/editor/designer/instructional designer/print buyer/packager/emphasizer: All freelance workers are independent contractors.

The Young Workers Project helps young professionals in Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital, define what it means to live and work here.

Also by Chloe Angyal:

The Autobiography of a Lunch Spree

Job Hunting the Modern Way

How to Find Good Benefits — According to a Guy Who’s Been Doing It for More Than a Decade

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