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Time to pay the bill?


Everything comes at a price: when the time comes, are we prepared to pay the bill?

The life of a freelancer is sometimes a precarious one and has its advantages and disadvantages.  As a freelancer, I get the option (to a degree) to pick and choose the work I do and when I do it; it’s also a very flexible lifestyle, which I’ve enjoyed greatly.  The price of that lifestyle and flexibility, however, is a high degree of uncertainty.  This was brought home to me when I realised that, next week, I will do my last paid work of 2011.

When I get in the car late next Wednesday afternoon, that’s it: no more work in the diary for 2011.  In fact, no more work in the diary, full stop.  Aside from a few meetings and networking events, the months ahead are distressingly blank.  There are some things that might happen but, in my experience, less than 50% of the things that might happen actually do happen - there is, as Shakespeare put it, many a slip ‘twixt cup and lip.  

The purpose of this blog is not to complain about that fact - although, if you know of anyone looking for a good trainer, please do let me know: reasonable rates, references provided.  No, instead, it’s an opportunity for me to reflect on one of my mantras - everything comes at a price.  

There are consequences to every decision: every choice you make carries with it a set of consequences which you might be able to predict, but you certainly cannot control.  Trying to justify his choice never to plan anything, a delegate said to me recently that he didn’t plan because that automatically limited his options and, to an extent, he’s right.  Anything you say “yes” to automatically means, by definition, that you say “no” to a whole set of other things. That’s the price you pay for making your decision.

This isn’t as simplistic as saying that for every good thing that happens something bad has to happen to balance it out but there are consequences that flow from every decision and it’s impossible to avoid them.  The price of a choice may be big or small but it’s there and it’s impossible to avoid paying it.  It’s surprising how many people are surprised by this, however.  It’s a choice not to exercise, not to eat right, not to develop and grow, not to pay attention to your relationships; you may get advantages from all of these choices in the short term but there will be a price to be paid.

I’ve loved my time as a freelancer and I’ve loved the flexibility that it offers. It’s given me great opportunities to do other things, indulge other interests, study, do voluntary work and just generally have an enjoyable lifestyle.  I’m beginning to wonder whether, as the financial climate seems to worsen, with no end in sight, whether now is the time for me to pay the price.  

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