In my last post I explained what it is about working with ideas that suits me. But I also find that there are benefits to working with books and ideas on a part-time, freelance basis.
Perhaps freelancers are underpaid and exploited because they provide all their work hardware, don’t receive healthcare and retirements benefits, and generally just work really hard. In fact, I remember a time when I said that working from home is the worst thing I could ever imagine. People who work out of their homes are never be away from work that needs to be done–they constantly make choices about when laundry and meal preparation are going to fit into getting their paid work done, and most of their friends and family see them as non-working people with time for impromptu lunches or visits.
But I have found that a major perk of always having a few plates spinning is that the mundane tasks of life and the social outlets of parenting allow for the percolation time I need on projects, keeping ideas fresh, and recognizing connections that I hadn’t seen before. It is almost like I take mini-vacations from work each week. Just the other day I had one of those “aha” moments (That’s how I need to do that thing!) while I was driving home from the grocery store.
I also have a brilliant husband who is both energetic when it comes to things technical and genuinely interested in the content and process of the work I am producing. He can tell me what tool I need ftp achieve a certain goal, suggest better ways, and be a sounding board about problems I am having or things that are exciting me. It can be so easy for parents of young children to slide into talking only about the kids, with little else to say after those updates are complete. It suits us two chatty people to have an endless supply of ideas and technical plans to process together in our spare moments.
Working part time reminds me of attending school part-time while I was working full time. I finished up my M.A. this way, and it made me wish I had gone to school part-time through all my undergraduate and graduate work. My classes seems more interesting, more connected to real life; the work for them was less drudgery and instead a break from the everyday. So also, I find the perks of my part-time work include a sense that what I am doing does relate to the ordinary life of the Christian person and that it is a treat to get to tackle it in regular, solid chunks throughout each week.