It has been months since the first lockdown, and we are still under some form of quarantine. Once comfortable, being home nowadays is starting to feel like being imprisoned. And on days when one has to go out to buy necessities, there is much trepidation. Can you imagine how losing a freelance job can exacerbate mental distress?
In March 2020, Pres. Duterte locked down the entire Metro Manila. Everyone hoped then that extreme measures would stop the spread of COVID-19. Unfortunately, hope turned to dismay and angst. Many people suffered from mental, emotional, and financial distress not too long after.
Businesses closing down resulted in millions of Filipinos losing their source of income. Although most freelancers working with foreign clients were not as affected, they are likewise vulnerable. For the foreseeable future, the economic outlook is indeed grim. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) even predicted that the Annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would decline by 8.3% (“World Economic Outlook, October 2020: A Long and Difficult Ascent”).
Globally, SARS-CoV-2 (the virus) has devastated many economies (“Global Economy to Expand by 4% in 2021; Vaccine Deployment and Investment Key to Sustaining the Recovery”). As businesses in top freelancer-hiring countries struggled, some started laying off workers.
Online freelancers, too, are feeling the economic strain. Globally, 60.42% of freelancers reported a slightly and greatly decreased demand for their services.
So, what happens if your client decides to let you go?
What to Do After Losing a Freelance Job
If you find yourself without a freelance writing gig, there are choices to make. While hoping for the best is better than wallowing in self-pity, it is not good enough. You have to consider all options and decide how to proceed.
Emotions running high during this time is understandable. Add to that the air of uncertainty, which may paralyze some people. But understand, too, that losing a job could also be a blessing in disguise.
Hoping for the best is better than wallowing in self-pity, but it is not good enough. Of course, you can turn this unfortunate situation into an opportunity. All you need to do is change how you think and do things. Later, you will realize that losing your online freelance job can be a blessing in disguise.
The choice is yours. You can focus on negativity and be a loser. Or better, be a winner by turning this predicament into an opportunity.
Option 1. Be a Loser
Can you relate to these situations?
- Frustration sets in as you go through hundreds of job postings, applying, and not getting hired. With each passing day, anxiousness builds up, causing you to question your self-worth. As exasperation turns into resentment, you find yourself on the verge of giving up.
- Although writing gigs are available for the taking, the pay is too cheap. Some may even feel that the rates are an insult to their dignity. It seems as if those clients offering better compensation hired everyone else but you.
- Out of desperation, you grabbed a job that pays well below your value. Even worse, the client wants you to do a billion tasks. For the time being, the rationale is that it puts food on the table and pays for rentals and utilities.
Getting rejected while hunting for a new gig is normal. But rather than dwelling on bruised ego, it is better to stay positive and keep going. Think of losing a freelance job as merely a temporary setback.
As an online freelancer, you should already be proficient at research. Such being the case, it should not be difficult to find the latest job postings on various platforms. Getting hired, though, is another matter.
Some of the difficulties typically encountered when seeking freelance writing gigs are:
- Compensation. Many clients demand high-quality articles but are not willing to pay reasonable rates. Unfortunately, there are no guidelines or standard freelance writing rates. Hence, finding companies with good compensation plans is not easy.
- Tasks. Freelance writers do only one thing, and that is to write. But some clients ask freelancers to do everything. An example is clients who want freelance writers to do the jobs of SEO experts and graphics artists.
- Niche. Most content writers are generalists in that they cover a variety of topics. Even so, everyone has their preferences, and so do you. Even if a high-paying writing gig is available, you may have to let it go if the topic is not within your comfort zone.
Negative thoughts and emotions evoked by these challenges can build stress. In addition, there is a sense of urgency or desperation to secure an income source. As a result, some people succumb to anxiety or depression.
Option 2. Be a Winner
Losing a job is not the end of the world. And so, you could choose to keep a positive mindset. But remember that hoping does not equate to landing a new client. You have to come up with a plan and take action. Otherwise, hope is nothing more than a misguided desire.
So, how do you turn things around?
Essentially, there are two things you can do.
- Search and apply for a new freelance gig.
- Allocate time to enhance knowledge and skills, thereby increasing your value.
How do you go about doing these things?
Instead of using all your time browsing through job offers on several platforms, it would be best to allocate some time for learning too. Acquiring more knowledge or enhancing skills serve two purposes. One is to make you more qualified and deserving of better positions and compensation. And learning new things gives you a sense of accomplishment, which goes a long way in countering negativities.
In essence, you are killing two birds with one stone. While actively searching and applying for a job, you also raise your value. Jack of all trades is a master of none. And that is why companies pay experts more than generalists.
Take Advantage of the Pandemic to Get Better Opportunities
In the old days, bowling centers hired people to set pins. Progress led to machines taking over that job. Having his source of livelihood yanked away is a bitter pill to swallow for pinsetters. Their loss, though, was an opportunity. New jobs designing and building those machines became available for other people.
In England, people hired knocker-ups to serve as human alarm clocks. The phone calls you make today no longer pass through switchboard operators. Innovation and technology have already turned these jobs obsolete.
As new industries emerged, new jobs became available. Hundreds of millions of people worldwide, for example, work in the technology sector and related fields. This industry, by the way, did not exist a few decades ago.
Sure, you lost your job today. But think about the changing business environment because of the pandemic (“COVID-19 and E-Commerce: Findings from a Survey of Online Consumers in 9 Countries”). More people shop and buy online, and many companies are scrambling to establish a digital presence (Perez).
Remember that content was and will always be the heart and soul of any website. So, the point is that there are more online freelancer opportunities today than ever. And this is why I proposed enhancing your skills and adding knowledge. You are transforming yourself to qualify and deserve better positions and compensation.
Losing a Freelance Job Is an Opportunity
The pandemic disrupted the brick-and-mortar business method, causing many to adapt and go online. As a result, there are many more opportunities for home-based jobs. We who work from home can continue minimizing contact with people. Fewer contacts mean less risk of getting infected with COVID-19.
There is one silver lining to the ongoing scourge that I should bring up. Fear and the realization of mortality have caused many people to take a step back and contemplate life. It is a good time to access where we are and where we want to go.
Despite the setback of getting laid off, a few days of soul searching and finding life’s purpose is not a bad thing. After defining your priorities, go and grab that dream content writing job. And while doing so, upgrade and be the better version of yourself.
Sources and Further Reading
“Global Economy to Expand by 4% in 2021; Vaccine Deployment and Investment Key to Sustaining the Recovery.” World Bank, 5 Jan. 2021. Accessed 16 Mar. 2022.
NetComm Suisse (Association), and UNCTAD. “COVID-19 and E-Commerce: Findings from a Survey of Online Consumers in 9 Countries.” United Nations Digital Library, Oct. 2020. Accessed 16 Mar. 2022.
Perez, Sarah. “COVID-19 Pandemic Accelerated Shift to E-Commerce by 5 Years, New Report Says.” TechCrunch, 24 Aug. 2020. Accessed 16 Mar. 2022.
“World Economic Outlook, October 2020: A Long and Difficult Ascent.” International Monetary Fund, Oct. 2020. Accessed 16 Mar. 2022.