Weighing the Pros and Cons of a Gig

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Photo by Alexander Mills on Pexels.com

A few weeks ago, I got an intriguing message from LinkedIn. A recruiter was looking to fill an editor role for a large personal finance company in my area. Although I have my hands full with my day job at a regional magazine, I took a moment and scanned the responsibilities. It looked pretty straightforward and aligned with my skill set, although a bit more “corporate” than I’m used to. But I’ll admit the contract pay ($46 per hour) attracted me. 

I hopped on a quick call with the recruiter that morning to talk specifics. Then I discovered a few things that made me pause. The company was looking for 40 hours a week, starting almost immediately, and two days a week would require driving to their corporate headquarters. That’s a 45-minute drive from me on a beltline I absolutely hate driving on because of the traffic and number of daily accidents. Still, I agreed to do a second screening interview the next week. 

Then I hung up the phone and wondered what I was doing. Haven’t I been saying all along that my day job requires so much writing so that I can’t focus on buildng my podcast and finishing revisions on a thriller novel I wrote last fall during NaNoWriMo? When I got a formal application in the e-mail from the recruiting agency I had to make a choice. I talked to my husband about it. He said he knew that while the money was attractive, it wouldn’t be something I enjoyed doing, especially with the hairy commute. Plus, the recruiter had told me that the contract ended at the end of August, and by then the company might be ready to make the position permanent. And they wanted me to start this month, when I have a week’s vacation planned at the end of the month (I had to plan that carefully, too, in between my magazine deadlines). 

I e-mailed the recruiter that I had changed my mind and didn’t want to move onto the next interview. This did spark an additional discussion with my husband, who asked why I have not asked my current boss for an increase in pay since I started there three years ago. “Yes, you are contract,” he said. “But the cost of living has gone up, including gas prices and food. You deserve to see an increase in pay.” I realized he had a point. 

Sometimes it can be tempting as a freelancer to go after every high-paying gig you see, but then you realize why you chose this profession and make a list of the reasons you like working contract jobs. I think the lesson learned here is to try and choose the work that has a good trade-off, and know what your worth is. 

Renee Roberson is an award-winning writer and editor who also hosts the true crime podcast, Missing in the Carolinas.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Renee--I think changing your mind was a wise thing to do. I think that too often, as women, we take on more than we can handle because as women, we usually CAN juggle so many things--being a mother, taking care of a house and sometimes/often even a job outside the home. You have real talent. Don't nudge it aside with "grunt work."

Angela Mackintosh said...

Renee, thanks for sharing this, and I agree with Sioux, it sounds like a wise choice. Plus, gas prices are insane right now! Almost $7 a gallon in CA. I'm at the point in my life where I'm trying to eliminate as much stress as possible and focus on art and creating joy. It may be less income, but I believe both happiness and making a living are attainable. You have something great with your podcast and novel-in-progress. Sometimes we have to look at what we have rather than jump on the next exciting thing, especially if it's going to drain our creativity!

Nicole Pyles said...

I love that you had this moment! I struggle with this A LOT. I recently had an opportunity that sounded good but involved with me taking phone calls for lengthy interviews that I had to transcribe. I just had to decline, I knew it wasn't a good fit. It's so hard to say no but it can be the best thing for you!

Renee Roberson said...

Sioux--Thank you. In reality, I probably wouldn't have even gotten the gig because I've never been hired for any of the corporate-level jobs I've interviewed for. But I also didn't want to waste the recruiter's time or resources. Plus, like you said, it would have been the same type of work I do now, but with an awful commute thrown in!

Ang--You are right about the gas prices and I drive a Jeep Cherokee! Filling up my tank has been a nightmare lately plus I have such anxiety about driving on the interstate. It was tempting to try and tell myself that I could work for a year and make enough to pay some bills off but I had to quickly brush that thought aside. I'm tired of putting my dreams on the back burner.

Nicole--I know you and I think alike. Yeah, a transcribing job is not something you wan to do with your talents and skill set if you don't have to. We have to weigh our mental health against gigs that we think can bring in "quick" cash--there's usually a trade off, right?

Cathy C. Hall said...

Yep, sounds like a good choice to me, too. There's definitely something to be said for "older but wiser." Maybe not richer but I bet you sleep better at night, Renee. :-)

And I'm with you on the traffic thing, too. *shudders at thought of driving into the ATL*

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Glad you were able to think this through. I also think that recruiters are good at selling a job. Here's why you should go for it. It is up to us to consider the various implications.

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