I sometimes resent technology.
I resent it when I find myself mindlessly scrolling through Facebook while in a room full of my friends. I resent it when I’m bearing witness to a beautiful view and I hear a shrill complaint about the lack of wifi because a study-abroad student can’t post their photo on Instagram. And I really resent it when my non-millennial friends tell me about the age of dating pre-tinder and how a person would actually call you to make a plan rather than message at 12am to “see if you’re out.” *Insert hearty eye-roll*
Despite the countless ways technology has detached us, there is no denying that it has connected us in many others. As a writer, I find that one of the most exciting doors technology has opened is the increased opportunity to build a career as a freelancer.
More than any other generation, the idea of work-life balance is monumentally important to millennials. We want freedom and flexibility. We don’t want to live to make money, but rather make money so that we can live our lives on our own terms. And more than anything, we want to enjoy the work that we’re doing.
There is much that can be criticized about our generation, but as far as I’m concerned this is not one of them. We are taking back control over our lives. We’re saying we don’t need to live a cookie cutter existence and that while a 9 to 5 job is perfect for some, it’s not the only way that works. We are saying that we want to do more and see more and explore the world and expand our minds.
Our generation was raised on technology and because of that we are creatures of diverse interests and talents. We were bred to be creative and multi-cultural and appreciate the big picture. A career in freelancing allows us to take those diverse interests and talents and translate them to paychecks. It allows us to find work that we enjoy and excel in and customize a work schedule so that we can fill our lives not just with work, but also with travel, experiences and hobbies.
The last decade has showed us that this is not as far-fetched as it sounds. With websites like Upwork.com we can network with companies around the globe that are looking to pay people for ongoing work in anything from web and software development to animation and voice acting, copywriting to legal services and administrative work to accounting. We can find whatever suits us and do the work when it suits us too.
Of the 53 million people earning money from freelancing in the US alone, only 33% of those people are millennials, proving that this is not just something the kids are doing. Flexible work in a career path that you enjoy is attainable and with it, so is your new found freedom.