For a very long time, Archana’s job as a marketing manager in a company owned by one of the biggest billionaires in the world was a daily hell filled with many disappointments.
Besides the ridiculously low pay, the working hours extended well into the weekends and the work itself was creatively stifling. Her supervisor reprimanded her vigorously and clearly despised employees who dared to take sick leave. All of this destroyed her sanity to the point that she couldn’t have a proper conversation with her family or partner for weeks.
“Leaving such a job, as is the case with the most toxic relationships, is easier said than done,” said Archana, who preferred to use only her first name to avoid the legal repercussions of her Former employer. “But I decided I had had enough when they cut our salaries during the pandemic. Instead of jumping into another job, however, I researched how I could get contracts with companies to work as a freelancer, but with a deposit in hand. This way, I could also have the financial security that I need.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a permanent is someone who works permanently, or for an extended period, for a particular employer as a freelancer. Permanents fall somewhere between a regular employee and a freelancer and are further defined by written or unwritten contracts outlining a stable set of deliverables over a limited period of time. Regular income at the end of the month (or whatever period is decided) but without having to follow the office rules set for full-time employees is the biggest attraction for permanent employees. It also means that you have a potentially endless stream of income since you’re not tied to a single job and, therefore, a single salary.
On the other side, however, permanent employees generally do not have access to benefits such as health insurance and paid holidays. Some companies mask their cost-cutting efforts with permanency offers that can be predatory and abusive.
In 2018, Bloomberg reported that almost half of Google’s workforce is made up of “contractors (read permanent) who do not receive the same benefits as direct employees”. Recently, various employees of Conde Nast, a global publishing house (which owns titles such as vogue, QGand vanity lounge) came together with demands to have their union recognized and put an end to tenure abuse.
In some cases, especially under operating conditions, permeability abuse can be borderline illegal. Recently, Medium and Epicurious announced for “full time freelancer“Gigs that included working 40 hours a week with no benefits. In my own case, a publishing house that otherwise paid me Rs 10,000 ($130) for an article offered a permanent setup where I was to produce 20 feature articles per month at the rate of just Rs 3,000 ( $40) per piece. I was just getting started and the publisher tried hard to convince me to get started. I later found out that she had indeed hired two new grads for that salary – ridiculously below industry standards. The site’s monthly goal of 130 digital articles had to be achieved at all costs, or rather at no cost.
“If a business is operating, it will be whether you are permanent or full-time,” said Nishant Saini, who quit his job as a corporate lawyer five years ago and started looking for contracts. permanent soon after. “What is the average health of the work culture of the companies you hope to be permanent for? Do they have unrealistic goals even for their most loyal full-time employees who have stuck around for years? What is their position in the market, beyond prestige and turnover? These are important questions you should be asking.
If a permanent gig becomes toxic, it defeats the very purpose of quitting a full-time job. For a newbie like me the mining offer could have been a golden ticket to some sort of financial stability but at the cost of other freelance options as I wouldn’t have time for them thus stifling my creativity and undermining my sanity.
According to a report per freelance website Upwork, nearly half of the Gen Z workforce has chosen to go freelance. One of the greatest post-pandemic corollaries Big resignation people opted for the independent lifestyle and, by extension, permanence. The young adult population highly values autonomy over toxic productivity, even if permanence can sometimes border on the latter. So, while having written or unwritten tenure contracts with companies, setting boundaries and having a clear demarcation of your deliverables becomes paramount.
In Saini’s case, the initial permalance gigs bordered on abuse — not just from his bosses but also from his colleagues. “They would go out of their way to make sure I knew my place in the pecking order,” he said. “When a client approached me directly, which I would have reported to my reporting manager anyway, my colleagues regrouped and accused me of having in fact staged a coup.
Saini opted to end this contract soon after. He learned that researching the work culture of permanent gigs is crucial. As a corporate lawyer, he always ends up working long hours, but he’s confident in his client selection, with no petty colleagues or unrealistic deadlines imposed on him.
Nivedita Pawar, a veteran journalist who was a magazine editor for 20 years, quit her full-time job eight years ago. She said having a diverse portfolio goes a long way to ensuring that one doesn’t settle for unfulfilling and abusive permanency gigs.
“I wanted more time with my daughter and the freedom to think and imagine stories that I really wanted,” said Pawar, who covers a range of lifestyle beats. Her versatility helps her score gigs with different types of posts. “With my full-time job, I was on autopilot: ordering stories, working on the occasional cover, and creating the same magazine predictably every month. It was a lot of logistics and I did everything but write.
Pawar lists three essential elements for any permalist, whatever their field of work: being tough on rejections; maintain discipline and dig all the inner motivation you can to surpass yourself on a daily basis; develop patience. “From writing marketing materials for businesses to writing brochures to feature articles, nothing should be too small for your ego. You have to be open to anything.”
In the case of Swetlana (who goes by one name), the flexibility of what she could offer also helped her get some solid gigs. As a documentary writer, tenure seemed like a viable option for her after working for six months at a fledgling start-up. One of his current projects is with VICE Studios.
“Initially, I chose credible freelance projects as a freelancer that helped me build a diverse portfolio,” she said. “Now I’m in a position where agencies can rely on me for almost everything, from scriptwriting and ideation on docuseries to even art direction.”
As a permalist myself, I can say that the feeling of satisfaction has always been the defining characteristic of permalinking – the security that comes with stable gigs and control over one’s workload is second to none.
According to a 2018 to research by Upwork and Edelman, 76% of respondents said they felt happier freelancing than in a traditional job, and more than half of the surveyed group said no amount of money would entice them to accept traditional work.
“My relationship with my loved ones improved because there was more respite,” said journalist Arzoo Dina, who quit her full-time job five years ago. “But eventually I was able to put my health above everything else because I could finally do things that made me happy.”
However, she credits living with her parents in a city like Mumbai has given her the financial buffer every permanent needs. In cases where that’s not possible, Dina suggests saving enough before leaving your nine-to-five and building that portfolio.
“Being permanent means you may be working weekends and even holidays, which can become difficult for people close to you,” Dina said. “But you have to set your own fixed hours and maybe take a day off when it gets too busy. Ultimately, though, it’s a better compromise, in my opinion. Why should I work for a company when I could work for myself? »
Follow Arman Khan on instagram and Twitter.