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I enjoy my freelance life but just signed a corporate contract and I’ll tell you why

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2 years ago, I handed in my resignation, left corporate life and was ready to conquer the world. And I did conquer. I used up my savings to follow my gut instinct; I dared to change, I dared to fail, and I also dared to succeed. I lifted myself out of the victimised role that society imposes on us and once again, turned my back to the ‘musts’, ‘shoulds’ and ‘can’ts’.

Yet, last week I signed a full-time corporate contract, and this 2-page document seals my next 5 months. Am I dreaded? Utterly!

I enjoy my freelance life, I’m proud of what I’ve built up. But I decided to sign this contract anyhow, be an inflexible employee once again, and I tell you why:


If you don't plan your life, someone else will. Click To Tweet


The Bigger Picture

Sometimes you need to sacrifice your comfort for a higher good. It’s not enough to see what you’re today, but you need to see where you’re heading to. The ‘where do you want to be in 5 years’ type of interview questions are not there to trick you. They’re there to guide you. If you don’t plan your life, someone else will. I have my 5-year plan (regardless of my clear inability to feel good about plans that run further than 3 months); I see the bigger picture. And for that – today – I need…


Being a freelancer has an amazing amount of advantages. After all everybody wants to work in her PJ with a cup of Joe, from her bed, then the sofa, then the bed again, and sometimes, yes, the desk also. Being a freelancer, however, is the most challenging job you will ever have. And as you just start out, you will find yourself juggling between your desires and daily obligations – aka bills. You have a seemingly great control over your work, but there is something uncontrollable, especially as you are newbie: gigs come and go. And it’s not for something when they say you need a 6-month saving if you want to kick off as a go-getter freelancer. My savings, however, went to redesigning my life and gaining new…



Today anything is accessible. I can learn Photoshop from home, I can become a career coach through an online class (this is a little odd, though), I can learn to code from a youtube video. During my last 2 years, I did that all and I didn’t stop until New York City, Tel Aviv, and Budapest. I am richer (in skills) than ever. But there are skills you can’t learn with the help of your speedy WIFI connection and with a stranger’s voice guiding you from Udemy.

There are skills, you know, like how to handle (negative) feedbacks in front of people, how to be an assertive independent-team-player, how to work in line with the different office rules, how to be a likeably-authentic colleague, how to say yes when you feel not-really, how to negotiate your arguments in an I-know-what-I-am-talking about yet I-am-OK-to-listen way, how to work under distractions from office politics, or how to sit straight at a desk that is not your own. You might say, these are the things we’re running away on our trail to becoming freelancers, and you might be right. But I believe that we need to learn the things that are the most uncomfortable to us in order to…


Empower others

If you think freelancing work is a paradise, and all you need to do is lay back do your task in a few hours, get a thick paycheck, and then go out for a beer, you’re either too young, or too naive. Both are amazing features since youngness and naivete are great driving forces. Being a freelancer, however, means being the CEO of your life. As fantastic as it sounds, you will be dealing with a hell lot of challenges no matter what industry you are at.

And if you manage people, your challenges will grow with the number of people you deal with. But the same applies to your clients. And unless you turned into a freelancer after years and years of employment contracts, getting the utmost out of all your experiences, the things you heard, saw and did, chances are that you have missed out lots of learning opportunities that help you to empower others, and you’re learning things the hard way, and that is being…



I love taking initiatives‘ – and we all know what it means: let me work alone! I enjoy swimming in the deep water and not having a lifeguard watching after me. I enjoy closing my doors and open them only as I want. But if you’re not conscious enough, you get too comfortable in your virtual office, and you become separated and yes, often, lonely. And even if you are a happy one-man-show digital nomad, we all know that (falsely, but truly) success lies in not what you do, but who you know and to know the right people, you need to…



As a freelancer, especially, if your work doesn’t push you to join every meet-up group in the city, or (in my case, even if I wanted to I couldn’t, because of language barriers), you find yourself talking to the same group of people all the time and well, even that is online. Let me tell you a secret: nobody will come to your door with offers unless they know where you live. But here comes the deeper layer, people trust people more than a virtual persona and for that you need to…

Nobody will come to your door with offers unless they know where you live. Click To Tweet


Get Out

There are weeks when I would not go out of my room for days. Ok, this is not entirely true, because I stick to my yoga classes, my walks in the nearby park, and I seek anything that inspires me to dress up and lock the door behind me. But (and as winter comes) it’s far too easy to find comfort indoors. And as your deadlines always seem to fall on the same days, believe me, days and nights can quickly overlap and the days between Monday and Friday just leap. Waking up each and every day at 6 am no matter how long you worked on your project last night is…



They say your success starts as you leave your comfort zone. 2 years ago I was not only in my comfort zone but it was also beyond the level I wanted to get out of life. And one morning the constant inner struggle became so heavy that I entered the office knowing that I would be out as a free woman in an hour. Most of the people fear change as much that they get paralyzed by even the thought of it. What scares me the most, however, is not change and challenge, but boredom and staying in the comfort zone. I am scared when I don’t feel challenged. And though I feel I am on the right track, I am still (relatively) young, and I need…



After my big career change, I needed a good few years to redefine my identity, the career path I wanted to step on and build my personal branding accordingly. I am at the entrance of showing up my new identity card without hesitation if I actually have the credentials for it. But I am thirsty for more. I want to learn, I want to find out my weak points, I want to see where I need to improve, I want to know if I have what the market needs. Even if it means…


Having a job description

I understand the purpose of job descriptions, but I still hate them. They put you in a cage, and then people wonder why employees fail to show any level of creativity, why they’re counting the hours to leave your office, and why they feel so unsatisfied, which of course, brings additional problems to them (and eventually on your company).

Lines after lines listing what you have to do in order to get the job done, but it barely states things like: giving ideas on how to better the department’s work, naming new software that can help the department’s operation, pointing out what doesn’t work while offering a solution, enjoy a cup of coffee with your colleagues and brainstorm informally. – unless you work at one of the new-age companies, as Google, of course. Job descriptions are as dry as a death sentence. They want you to close down your active brain and be a passive (but fantastic) do-er by order. But with the company cultures slowly changing for better, and regardless of the often overwhelming freedom of a freelancer, job descriptions give you…

Job descriptions are as dry as a death sentence. Click To Tweet



Not living in my own country set a great line of burdens on me if I do not have a full-time job. Being a freelancer is expensive and not necessarily profitable from day one. You need to pay VAT (even if you don’t make a cent as profit); you need to pay your own social security, you need proofs of sufficient financial resources even to renew your Visa card. You need to be your own accountant, tax adviser, legal, PR, sales, marketing, logistics personnel, and, yeah, of course, be excellent in the field you are working in. Burdens. And not knowing local language is just the prepared banana peel to slip on. If you have a carefully drafted 2-page document signed by two parties, however, all these burdens evaporate in seconds, and you have time to…



My next 5 years will include at least one – but rather more – big change in my life. I will surely move across countries, I most probably will be married, and well, I do hope to hug my children by then. These are things, nobody asks you in a job interview, but I tell them anyway. These are crucial things, and things that you need to think about and if possible, plan ahead. I am 30. And I need to think, I need to do some life audit and for that I need…


To keep my bigger picture in mind, collect some savings, gain new, valuable skills to be able to empower others that will empower me, leave my aloneness alone, meet new people, learn from them, network cleverly, get out of my comfort zone to challenge myself and earn credentials through a job description that provides me the basic security that lets me think.


Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske /
Virág Gulyás is the founder of MissCareer/Less, a startup dedicated to women who embrace change, and works as a freelance creative project manager. As a former ballet dancer, she faced the challenges of what it means to change a career and start a new life in a culture where success is defined in linear terms. She believes that raw, honest storytelling is the new generation of women empowerment. Virág is an author, speaker and develops workshops to empower women and young (un)employed people.

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