A link recently appeared in my Twitter feed to an article called "Working in your PJs: How to determine if freelancing is the right fit for you." It came from Ragan Communications, a leading international public relations agency (http://bit.ly/nFGduJ).
I bristled at the stereotype. I've been a freelance writer/editor on and off throughout my career and consistently for the past four years, and have never spent a day working in my pajamas. It suggests to me that freelancers are lazy. Perhaps we roll out of bed (or don't bother getting up at all), putter away for a bit, nap mid-day and somehow still earn a living wage. Or perhaps we sleepwalk through our tasks.
More than two million Canadians are self-employed according to CanadianCareers.com. We work in sales, trades, the arts, management and many other fields. We do it for a variety of reasons (because we love the flexibility, being our own bosses, we hate commuting, etc.) but basically we freelance because we can.
Surveys show 92% of small business owners are satisfied with their work compared with 82% of Canadians in general (http://bit.ly/n5epZh). I freelance because I can usually be home in the morning to get the kids ready for school and home to greet them in the late afternoon, and I can work on my laptop while sitting on the sidelines at their soccer practices and art lessons. I get to pursue wide-ranging projects that interest me, interview people I admire, and study part-time. Many days I run in the morning when my physical energy peaks, and work late at night when my mental energy peaks. The hours mostly suit me but they're frequently long. I can't recall when I last had a full day off.
Sure, when I'm home you may find me in jeans or yoga pants, but when I leave the house to meet clients, attend meetings, or go to conference or workshops I'm attired in business casual—dress pants, shoes with heels, a shirt or sweater, earrings and lipstick. I can play dress-up, too.
But this past weekend I had a revelation. I attended a reunion event that required I wear a skirt and pantyhose. It was the first time I'd sheathed my legs in tight nylon in about a year. By mid-day I was sweaty and uncomfortable. My feet became sore after walking one measly kilometre. My skirt was twisted and my blouse was creased. It was a big girl failure.
So I conclude that "working in your pajamas" is a myth perpetrated by jealous office workers who still are required to dress with nooses around their necks (neckties) or sausage casing around their legs (hosiery). We freelancers prove that you can be comfortable, appropriate (and for me, this means no pajamas past 7:30 a.m.) and productive.
What do you wear to work most days? (No matter what you do, I'm guess it's not pajamas.)