Are we, the self-employed, unemployable?

the unemployable self-employed

Photo by StooMathiesen (Creative Commons). Adapted by WritersCaravan

I’m posting later than usual today. That is because I spent an entire afternoon in the IKEA kitchen department, putting an order through for a client. And to tell you the truth, once you walk in IKEA, don’t expect to come out within the next 3 hours. Anyway. I have reached my IKEA saturation point so I shall quickly move on to the main topic of today’s post : self-employment.

I spent most of the day with my colleague/Project Manager and a certain thing he said gave birth to this post. We were talking about the stressful business that is being a freelancer and he told me that he’d always been self-employed. “I guess I’m unemployable”, he chuckled. I won’t pretend to know exactly what he meant but his words resonated in me. Is this what we, the self-employed are? Unemployable?

The diffident, destructive side of me is screaming YES at me. Yes, you are unemployable! Yes, you are far from worthy of being noticed by a company who will trust your skills and take you on board. You are not clever enough, not creative enough, and all you can do to pay the rent is hire yourself because, let’s face, no one else will. All those CVs you crafted with passion and enthusiasm, all those cover letters you composed, they were all met with rejection. Your portfolio isn’t good enough. Your experience is non-existent because no one wanted you, remember?

But is this really true? Oh how easy it would be for me to give in to misery and accept defeat! How easy it would be to just mope around and watch my self-esteem drown! I assure you, I could do it; I have done it and probably still am. But it doesn’t have to be this way. When I meet new people and tell them I work as a freelance architect, they usually gasp and tell me how lucky I am, how brave… They don’t laugh at me, or think that I am unsuccessful. Because to them, I have achieved something. Yes, it is hard work to appreciate how “lucky” or “brave” I am, and yes, I might not be capable of feeling that much gratitude just yet. But when I look into those kind people’s eyes, I feel like I haven’t failed at life, I have just taken a different path.

There you have it. Self-employment is not an impasse, it is not a side road we were pushed onto because only the cool kids get to drive on the main road. It is just a choice of life, a purely personal approach that is not and should not be dictated by other rejections. It may have been a consequence of course, a result of countless decisions beyond my power, but I want to think that is this is okay. I want to think that I chose this path not because I wasn’t good enough to choose the other, but because I was different. Because no one saw in me what I had to give and you know what? Their loss.

This self-assertive, slightly arrogant side of me doesn’t live for very long at a time. It seldom makes an appearance but when it does, the boost of confidence is instant. And right now, I hope it is enough to reach you.


Thanks for reading.
Hop on my Facebook and Twitter caravans.

7 responses to “Are we, the self-employed, unemployable?

  1. Hmmmm. I’ve never once thought of self-employed people, much less someone as educated as an architect, as unworthy in any way. Moreso that they’re in a much better position than those of us who spent our lives being beaten to death by employers who valued us not at all. I hope you nurture that self-assured side of yourself, because being self-employed seems like an enviable position!


    • Thanks for the encouraging words, Beth. The truth is, until today, I’d never thought of it that way but once it was mentioned, I couldn’t get it off my mind. It was helpful to write my thoughts down and realise how enviable my role SHOULD be indeed. Still, I have quite a bit of introspection to do to get there…

      Liked by 1 person

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