Silent Whispers

Chasing Illusionary Butterflies!

Archive for May, 2010

The Dilemma of a Freelancer

Posted by Mrityunjay on May 20, 2010

The term Freelancer is very intriguing. Dictionary defines Freelancer as-

1. A person who sells services to employers without a long-term commitment to any of them.

2. An uncommitted independent, as in politics or social life.

Delving further, the origin of the term ‘freelancer’ goes back to medieval era. It referred to a mercenary, a ‘free lance’ who could be a knight with no affiliation or loyalty to any particular lord. He could be hired by any lord for a given task in exchange of a favour or gold coins or any other thing.

Now, why am I blabbering about Freelance and freelancers? Well, I am a freelance writer by profession and it has been almost three years since I am living with this tag of a ‘Freelance Writer’. A few people find this tag glamorous whereas for several others, the gist of this profession is restricted to just half of the letters, i.e., ‘free’. I have my objections against this term. Does ‘free’ in ‘freelancer’ signify anything? Perhaps for professionals, it denotes nothing but for N number of acquaintances, it creates the perception that a freelancer has all the free time in the world.

I have been through situations where I was asked, ‘so, what do you do for a living?’ I reply, I am a freelance writer. Pat comes the reply, ‘that I got but what is your actual job’! After that, I don’t know who feels more bewildered, me or the questioner! I seriously think it’s a misnomer. I live in a society where it’s actually hard for people to believe that someone who is young, qualified and has completed his MBA, is working from home. I get weird glances when I respond to the questions like ‘which company you are working for/with’? How could someone work without being a part of an organization? Without having a designation? Without having a salary slip? And so on and so forth!

The cycle starts with your family, extends to your relatives and friends. To tell you the truth, there is nothing free in freelancing. A freelancer spends equal number of hours on his work that of his friend in a full-time regular job. The only difference is my breed is not bound to any 9-6 schedule. Yes, freelancers are privileged to not being subjected to any peer pressure, office politics, gender discrimination etc etc. However, the same things can work to your disadvantage. For instance, as you are not working under someone, it’s hard to discipline yourself. In the absence of peers and colleagues, it is not always possible to compare and analyse your quality of work. You are also not eligible for any year-end bonuses, incentives and perhaps, free local and global tours. You don’t have a steady income. One month, you are all rich and wondering where to spend your hard-earned moolah and next month, you might be pondering over where am I going to get my next meal (last part might border on exaggeration but whatever, you get the drift).

Worst part of this profession is people always assume that you are free. Anyone can call you at any point of time expecting that just because you stay at home, you will have all the free time in the world. Additionally, people will opine, ‘dude, you are so damn lucky. Not many people have such rich fortune like you!’ Honestly, during my first year as a freelancer, it all felt nice and wonderful. But now, it sucks! I feel like replying, ‘nobody has stopped you from joining me or you can be as fortunate as I am!’ But the moment, you utter these words, just prepare yourself for tales of countless excuses, sighs, problems, regrets and what not!

To tell you the truth, it demands guts and a huge risk appetite to pursue career as a freelancer leaving a secure job. If you could make it in few years, all glory is yours. You will be hailed and well, envied as well but in case, you are still struggling to make a mark for yourself, get ready for ‘told you so…’ prophecies. Yeah, it always pays to be realistic. A freelancer should periodically examine his progress and devise further strategies. At the same time, people in his life should understand that a freelance writer has his own working hours and he requires space and peace to produce his optimum. Guess, it’s time to set my own rules and stick by them.

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Posted by Mrityunjay on May 2, 2010

Almost twice a week, I get an email informing me about someone following me on Twitter. This ‘someone’ could be anyone from xyz to abc that I have no clue about. Most of these followers do not have any followers themselves but they are following like 200-700 people. Why? I have no clue. Why someone like me who hardly has few tweets to his name? Again, I have no clue because I don’t know any of them. This sets me thinking. People are either following someone or want others to follow them just because others are doing it as well. Call it a marketing gimmick or ‘popularity of brand Twitter’ or whatever you like but for many of us trying to be active on Twitter almost borders on desperation.

I have heard few guys saying, ‘What! You are not on Twitter? Come on Man, that’s just unimaginable!’ What the hell!These people make me feel as if my entire life hinges on being a ‘Twitterati’ and if you are not a part of this phenomenon, you are definitely technologically challenged. To me, most of the people trying to be active on Twitter do not make sense. It’s very much similar to a herd mentality.

If Tom, Dick and Harry is there on Twitter then so should I! Why? I don’t know but yeah, this is ‘in’! This is the fad we must be a part of or else I risk being labelled technology illiterate. Does it confuse you? Or gives you an indication of how easy it is to influence people! And what do most of these ‘fad-o-followers’ do on twitter? Well, some of the best comical and nonsensical stuff that you will ever witness. Just witness three tweets and responses!

Tweet One– Man, Delhi’s weather sux! Tempr is almst 44 and no respite in sight!

1st Response-  yeah dude, this is jst so v bad! (enlightened, huh?!)

2nd response- why don’t u go 2 a hill station! (Damn, y didn’t I think of it!)

3rd response- Mumbai is no bettr either! (Uh? Really?)

Tweet Two– Saw Prince. Vivek Oberoi rocks.

1st Response- Yeah man, stunts were amazing! (Sure, what good taste you have!)

2nd response- yucckk! Worst film of the year! (Sigh! At last s’one is making sense!)

3rd Response- copycat bollywood! Vivek’s acting starts wid flared nostril and end wid dat 1ly! (how dare you speak the truth!)

Tweet Three– Fever and cold is killing me. Don’t feel like goin office.

1st Response- Awwww..poor baby. Did u c any doctor? (Cho chweet of you to ask that! Gurrrrrr!)

2nd Response- that’s sad! Changing weather n all! Get well soon. (Zillion thanks for this wonderful suggestion)

3rd Response- jst relax at home. Take crocin and anti-biotic. (Really? Why didn’t you tell me before?)

Tell me, was there any strategic importance attached with these tweets? I mean, none of these make any sense and yet you will find 80% of tweets going on these lines. Got the drift? If Delhi’s weather sucks then no less than 15 million of population are also going through the same thing and actually, it does not comes as a surprise if you realise why it’s called summer! If you have fever and cold then what’s the point making a noise about it? Seeking sympathy? Require attention? Want the world to notice that one of the most important persons on the planet earth is going through a ‘real hard time’? Get a life man!

Most of the tweets have this intonation of ‘Please notice me! I am also there! Me too, Me too’. Such creeps & such desperation! I do agree, twitter is a wonderful tool in hands of those who knows why to use it. It makes sense in the hands of marketing people, some web 2.0 savvy business punks but what’s your reason to be there! If you are following Shahrukh, Lalit Modi or some other big shot celebrities, at least that shows us our very nature of being a ‘peeping Tom’. Though, If Lalit Modi tweets, ‘having fun at spa. Relaxing time’, it does not make any sense to me but yeah, hundreds of other twitter guys will get their inspiration from that and waste some real precious time of their lives discussing that particular tweet. ‘The Times of India’ will inform us which celebrity tweeted what and we get our fodder from that.

Twitter is a handy tool if you want to advertise things. It makes sense for bloggers or for people who need to spread some relevant news in quick time or when some sort of healthy and informative discussion goes on and we feel tempted to share our 2 cents. But all the ‘Despos’ and ‘Me Toos’ of the world and that includes me, please try to find some good reasons for your tweets and if you don’t have any, be selective about what you tweet. World is not really interested in your attention-seeking cheesy tweets and if they are then, beware. Because in a world where self-obsession is the key that drives us, you are also bound to indulge in ‘Quid pro Quo’. If you are bombarding others with your crap then you need to be prepared for same. But I guess, you have already factored in that tacky barter system.

P.S- Well, having mumbled all those things, how about tweeting my blog update? Lolzz

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