One of the career choices that seems to be an increasingly popular option for those in technical communication is deciding to “quit the rat race” and go it alone in freelancing or independent consulting. A recent study by MBO Partners shows that the independent consulting segment of the workforce in the United States is more than 16 million workers, and continues to grow among all demographics. And, at least among Seniors, Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers, once they go independent, they overwhelmingly do not want to go back to full-time work for someone else.
This week’s “Career Upgrade” features focus on the reasons and the challenges of being a freelancer in the technical communication world. Jacquie Samuels provided some in-depth guidance to answer the question “Are You Ready?”, and tomorrow, Andrea Altenburg will discuss the top things she wishes she knew when she started as a freelancer a year ago. One thing is clear, technical communicators who move to freelancing full-time have lots of reasons for making the choice to go it alone. So TechWhirl asks you to think about what drives you to consider the freelancing life. Even if you’re not a consultant or planning to become one in the near future, take a few minutes to vote in our poll on the reasons why you might consider consulting.
Among the crew at TechWhirl and the Special Writers Unit, quite a good percentage of us have gone the consulting route. Some are burned out from the corporate grind, others want the flexibility and variety, and some are independent out of necessity, as the job market is still slow to recover. Choosing freelancing as a technical communication career path ranks right up there with the other big life decisions–who to marry, what house to buy, whether to have kids, what college major to pursue… and a few others. It comes with a lot of challenges and worries (which we’ll talk about in next week’s poll), but can be one of the most satisfying paths to take.
So vote for your reasons to go independent, and post a comment or start a new thread on the email discussion list.