It’s a Freelance Holiday.
by Christie Mellor
There are a few downsides to being a freelancer around the holidays. Like for instance, no Office Party! No co-workers making out in the office-supply room. No boss making racist remarks while wearing Christmas-themed boxer shorts on his head. No conga line snaking around the water cooler. No Christmas Karaoke! No next-day awkwardness, when you realize you spent the previous evening drunkenly declaring your attraction to the cute mail-boy. No evidence – left pasted on the walls of the office kitchen – of your co-workers mooning the Xerox machine.
Perhaps this is a good thing. Of course, the biggest downside of being a freelancer around the holidays? No fat envelope containing a Christmas bonus, like those lucky hedge fund guys get. Like a lot of people this economically depressed holiday season, we’ve had to tighten our belts even more than usual. The company that owes my freelance-copywriter husband thousands of dollars (should I name them? Hmm. Tempting.) have a rather interesting policy when it comes to paying their freelancers. They’ve been hiring my husband so often that he’s had very little time to work for other companies. It’s been great working so regularly. He makes himself available for rush jobs, he takes calls and emails during dinner, always delivers more work than he’s asked for, and always delivers it on time. And they must really love his work, they keep hiring him. But since they “can” wait for ninety days to pay, they do. And then some. Merry Christmas, Freelancer!
I’m guessing the boss will be taking home a nice paycheck for the holidays. I’m also guessing that the boss wouldn’t work for free. But what’s a freelancer to do? Sure, the company eventually pays, in dribs and drabs. Months after the job is done. And hey, they invited him to the Holiday Office party! Sadly, we’ll be out of town that night, which is probably also a good thing, because I might end up saying something regrettable in front of the boss.
My store of knowledge regarding office Christmas parties pretty much comes from the movies and episodes of Mad Men. Both of which may be presenting a slightly skewed picture. Maybe it’s time we had our own holiday office party. We could invite our other freelancer friends to come as pencil pushers and cubicle-dwellers. My husband and I could take turns playing the drunken boss. I could wear my cute pencil skirt and a pair of stilettos, and play secretary. We could serve punch from a water-cooler, and read a heartfelt Holiday Office Memo. Just before we lay off a bunch of people. Fun!