On Being Freelance and Remote
Two months ago, I shared some updates on my coding journey. The main news was that I was going to start working remotely and as a freelance for my previous employer. Here are some new updates on how things have been working for me since then.
The quick summary is that I’m very satisfied by my new working conditions. Actually, it’s almost a dream come true. So much so that I’ve decided to put on hold my application for the London-based distributed startup I mentioned in my previous post who wanted me as a long-term employee and not as a freelance.
Since mid-November, I’ve been working between 20 and 25 hours a week, with very flexible hours. Every Monday morning, I participate to the weekly planning with the team I’m working with, and I tell them how many days I can work the coming week. They then try to find projects and specific tasks I could fulfill during the week. Apart from a few time-bound constraints (like scheduled remote meetings with some of their final customers), I have almost complete freedom for how I organize my work. If the grandparents take the kids a given day, I can go into the zone and put in 10h in a single day. Or if I have other family-related tasks to get done during the day (like bringing the car to the garage or going to IKEA), I can cram in a few hours at night when the whole family has gone to bed. And if I have the kids for 2 whole weeks during the Christmas holiday, I just tell my client that I won’t be available during that time. That’s it. I don’t have to argue over the schedule or ask any permission.
Of course, this is not vacation. I have some serious work to get done with deadlines. But the key to my fulfillment is the new freedom and autonomy I have found. It’s actually the main reason I’ve decided to refuse the employment offer from the hot startup that used to be a dream job and company for me. Even though they’re are fully distributed and can offer flexible work hours, I will never be able to find the same freedom as an employee that I’ve found as a freelance.
The magic here is that I’m able at the same time to be the main caregiver for my 3 kids, take care of everything home-related (groceries shopping, cooking, cleaning, fixing things, maintaining the car, etc.), find intellectual stimulation and bring home a relatively good paycheck. Since as a freelance I don’t contribute to the standard French unemployment and retirement funds, this means that I can pay myself a comfortable salary and have almost complete control as to where my money goes.
- Update the order recognition for PEPSI so that they automatically ship their beverages at ambient or chilled temperature and at the right destination depending on various parameters found on the order
- Automatically extract Asian specific dates (e.g. the Minguo calendar where it is currently year 107 or the Buddhist calendar where it is year 2561) and convert them to standard formats in orders for a worldwide customer implementing our solution all over Asia
- Interface our solution directly with BLACK & DECKER’s SAP using Web Services so that their employees don’t have to enter data coming from orders manually, which frees them to have more time for more intersting tasks which add more value to the company (like building good relationships with customers)
Recently, my eldest daughter overheard a mum saying to her kid on the way to school: “Come on, hurry up, I’m going to be late for work!” She then started smiling and jumping around, saying: “My daddy’s working from home and can have lunch with me everyday!” Below is the face she made. For me, this is worth everything in the world.
Originally published at www.samuelpath.com on January 2, 2018.