I drove Mr. Bookworm’s car today. That means that, when I turned on the radio, I got NPR. I don’t listen to NPR anymore. I find very dull the carefully packaged stories, all of which advance, with greater or lesser subtlety, a Progressive political agenda. I prefer freewheeling talk radio, where hosts do live interviews of people with whom they agree and, even more interestingly, with people with whom they disagree.
Today, though, I listened to NPR long enough to hear a promo for an upcoming show, the name of which I forget, which looks at the fact that more and more people are free-lancers rather than employees. It was clear that NPR disapproves of this trend, because the show was sold as a look at people who are pathetically hustling for work without the security of full-time employment.
I used to be one of those people, although I never thought of myself as pathetic. I did my best lawyering when I stopped being a wage slave and started working for myself. Instead of resenting every hour worked, because it simply put more money into the boss’s pockets, I threw myself into my work because it benefited me. When I hustled, there was a direct return on effort.
The economics of what I was doing meant I never made as much money working as a free-lance attorney, hiring my services out to other law firms, as I did when I worked for the big firms. I also actually worked harder for that lesser amount of money. But I was so much happier. The direct connection between labor and profit was incredibly satisfying. Yes, I was out there hustling, but I was free. And while it’s true that I’d lost my “safety net,” the fact is that my employers could have fired me at any time. So that safety net was an illusion. Working for myself, I knew what I had to offer and I knew I could survive.