Life as a Freelancer: Three Questions to ask yourself …
Running around Macritchie today (11 km loop) as is my habit nowadays (at least once a week), I got to think about some things that a teacher (or employee) might want to consider, if he or she is thinking of leaving MOE (or an organisation) to freelance … In other words, will it be the “right” move?
The first thing to answer is “will I be ok spending quite a lot of time by myself?” I mean, we are social creatures by nature, so now suddenly, there are no longer colleagues or a class/group of students that you spend quite a bit of time with, and this will be one of the big adjustments to get used to (this scenario applies especially in the case of a school teacher).
Now, in my case, the answer is quite clearly “Yes!”, so that is not a problem. Anyway, I still meet a fair number of people. There are those that are based on the regular activities (e.g. classmates from the different classes I am attending like painting and pottery, weekly table tennis sessions or one-on-one with the dizi teacher or my tuition students) or random interactions (e.g. on the running trail, we smile or say ‘morning’; just now, a foreign worker asked me about a tree I was photographing; yesterday, I spotted a woodpecker and alerted a mother and her son to it).
can you spot the woodpecker?
And closer to home, there is always someone at home, or neighbours. And there are also the relief teaching sessions (have done RT a few days a month for the past 5 months) which are working very well so far (just teach one or two tutorial classes a day, for no longer than 2 weeks, and earning a half or full day RT pay depending on my preference. And meeting with “old” friends (who are either in similar situation or just catching up …).
Meeting “old” friends from secondary/JC days!
The second question is “how important are organisation “benefits” to me?”. There is no question that working for yourself implies a lost of certain things that organisations provide, such as certain training/development opportunities, medical benefits, bonuses, promotions, status, sense of belonging (colleagues and team spirit), …, stability and structure (in work, pay, work routines). So, think about the substitutes for those that matter …
and following the above, “can I (afford to) give them up?”, given your situation and commitments (family, financial, …). A realistic self- assessment, and a talk with family members will be in order here.
Fortunately, at this point in time (which is 1 year and one month from my last day in MOE), things are working out well in my “50 before 50 experiment”! As for drawbacks? I suppose these are mainly related to the loss of “organisation benefits”, but they are more than outweighed by the freedom and choice to design how I live and spend my time 🙂