The Freelance Life: Blessing or Curse?

KARI LYDERSENbyline‚ Nov. 28‚ 2012

The setting for labor lawyer Sara Horowitz’s recent author talk in Chicago was itself a fantastic advertisement for the freelancing lifestyle. The November 14 event promoting Horowitz's new book, The Freelancer’s Bible, was held in Enerspace, a cheery, hip, communal workspace in the West Loop where freelancers such as graphic designers and writers pay to use sleek, colorful cubicles while enjoying a sense of camaraderie.

Horowitz, recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” grant and one of the founders of the New York-based Freelancers Union, made freelancing sound enjoyable indeed—a way to break free of the fetters of an authoritarian workplace, set one’s own schedule, build alliances with like-minded people and ultimately, to pursue one’s dreams. She touted a complete re-imagining of work and the workplace, where freelancers use their ingenuity to shape their careers and build horizontal (rather than vertical) networks with friends in the same industries who can share resources and cooperatively buy supplies, “outsourcing” work to each other in boom times and pulling together in lean times. She described freelancer friends whose flexible schedules lefe them free to learn a new skill or dedicate time in their day to family.