The freelancer’s career paradox

Freelancers and temporary assignments are inextricably linked to one another. With the growing number of freelancers in our society, the number of temporary assignments grows as well. The opinions regarding the development being positive are mixed. Proponents value the greater flexibility as added value for organizations, as freelancers re-use knowledge, gained during an assignment, for the benefit of a next organization for whom they work. This, in order, improves the innovative power of these organizations.

According to the opponents, practice shows that freelancers are oftentimes used in their field of specific knowledge and this prevents them from gaining knowledge and skill through the assignments they acquire. The knowledge transfer between freelancers and organizations disappears and so does the possibility organizations to grow.

Career paradox
The challenge in the work of every freelancer is to find assignments in which they can’t only use their acquired knowledge and skills, but also develop new knowledge; assignments that are just beyond your level and in which you can acquire new competences or knowledge. This is the only way in which they are able to grow and to preserve their interest in working. So, freelancers face a‘career paradox’. Although they need assignments in which are challenged to learn, clients are oftentimes looking for freelancers that have already developed the skill level needed to finish the specific assignment.

The acquiring of new knowledge isn’t only needed for growth purposes, yet it also influences somebody’s motivation to complete an assignment. You can imagine that a client who just asks and doesn’t invest, will only receive the information he asks for. However, a committed freelancer will be willing to go an extra mile, and will be of great value for a company.

This particular commitment to a freelancer is of benefit for the client, as it fuels a real exchange of knowledge, through which the client’s organization will be able to grow on the long run. The freelancer benefits from the given challenge, and the possibility to learn. The challenge is important, when it isn’t incorporated for a longer period of time, chances on a ‘bore-out’ increase.

There are ways to avoid the boredom. One of the most important things is mutual involvement. Although freelancers present themselves as independent entrepreneurs, they perform best when they get the feel of being part of the company that gave them the assignment. As freelancer, you can increase this involvement by being physically present at your clients location and literally asking attention for your growth opportunities during negotiations. This is the way both parties will benefit most from their cooperation.