If you’re fiercely independent, work wild hours, or just crave creativity in designing your day, you might be looking for an alternative to working a 9 to 5. Let’s take a quick look at some of the possibilities that are open to you and how you can pursue them.
Freelancing means you complete projects for clients that are not your full-time employer. You may do a one-off task like designing a logo, or a regularly recurring job like writing monthly blog posts. In order to get started as a freelancer, you’ll need a portfolio of your work and a clear idea of your rate.
If you have limited experience, try volunteering somewhere first. You’ll learn some industry terms, evaluate how long it takes you to complete projects and how much you think it’s reasonable to charge, and expand your network and portfolio. Fast Company offers an in-depth description of freelancing in “How to Be a Happy and Successful Creative Freelancer (Or Work With One)” and I love Skillcrush’s “How to make more money tomorrow: 4 ways to side hustle your way to your dream job.”
Temping generally means going through an agency that will introduce you to clients and help prep you for interviews and assignments. This type of work lets you experience lots of different offices, generally on short-term contracts (anywhere from a few days to a few months).
Many temp agencies also offer temp-to-perm arrangements, so if you decide you DO like working somewhere after all, you may have the chance to get hired on permanently. Come Recommended’s “Pros and Cons of Working a Temporary Job” can help you figure out if this option is right for you.
Contract work is similar to temping, although in many cases you’ll be hired by the company directly. If you’re hired as a contractor, you’ll generally be employed for a set amount of time or until a specific project is complete. This can also occasionally lead to a full-time offer. For more information, check out College Recruiter’s “Pros and Cons of Being an Independent Contractor.”
Job shadowing/information interviewing
Job shadowing/informational interviewing is not really a way to earn an income, but if you’re unsure about what type of career you’d like, it’s definitely worth spending some time talking to people whose careers you admire to learn about what they do and how they got to where they are. Find out more about how to do this from Marie Hernandez, who talks about her 50 Jobs Project and what she’s learned from shadowing everyone from photographers to bike messengers in this article, “3 Steps to Finding Your Future Dream Job.”
Starting your own business requires a whole different type of commitment, but it can be the ultimate way of managing your own schedule and determining what your workday looks like. We caught up with a few entrepreneurs: Diane Loviglio, CEO and Co-Founder of Share Some Style, Jessica C. Lee, Founder and CEO of Modern Citizen, and Andréa Butler, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Sesi Magazine, to name a few. Find all of our entrepreneur-related content by clicking on the “Entrepreneur” tag.
Homework time! Which of these options sound most appealing to you? Spend some time researching them and trying to find people who can tell you about their personal experiences. What did you discover? Let us know in the notes below!
P.S. Think you’re alone if you want to avoid a traditional career? Check out this article from Forbes “Why Millennials Are Ending the 9 to 5.”