Empowering the Freelance Economy

If working until 68 fills you with dread now, then it could be time to remap your career

Our chosen careers could be unsustainable well into our sixties, so is it time to remap yours? /Photo by Nicola Barts via Pexels
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CAREER TIPS

The expected State Pension Age hike to 68 in the UK has been delayed — for now. As riots and protests over the increased pension age wreak havoc across France, Katherine Steiner-Dicks poses a list of self-discovery questions for freelancers to help them ascertain if their current livelihood is sustainable well into their sixties and what they may need to do, now, if it isn’t.

State pension age bingo

When news broke that Mel Stride, Work and Pensions Secretary, told the Commons that the government would not bring forward the move to age 68 for the state pension, undoubtedly there was a collective sigh of relief that could have been heard across Britain.

The change in state pension age is scheduled to happen between 2044-46, although the government had previously stated its intention to bring it forward to 2037-2039. Some rumours suggested it could be brought forward even earlier, says Helen Morrissey, head of retirement analysis at Hargreaves Lansdown.

Increases in longevity that have prompted previous increases have slowed. However, state pension costs remain “eye-wateringly high”, says Morrissey, which could prompt reform of the triple lock.

“The accelerated shift to age 68, once seen as a foregone conclusion, has been shelved,” says Morrissey.

“Looking more widely the increases in longevity which have fuelled previous increases have slowed and it’s fair to say many people’s health would make working until age 68 incredibly difficult. People have worked hard for many years and need certainty as to when they will receive their state pension to help them plan effectively and this move will come as a real relief.

Morrissey says increasing state pension age was one lever the government could deploy but it looks like it’s becoming much more difficult to do so.

How to assess what is and isn’t sustainable about your job

If you are good at what you do and are compensated for it handsomely, then you may want to continue your chosen career into your sixties.

However, if this job is making you struggle, feel anxious, moody and overall frustrated you have to help yourself get to the core of what is causing all that angst.

Here is a list of questions you can ask yourself to help assess how and why you may need to remap your freelance career to ensure it is sustainable for years to come.

One way to make this self-discovery exercise more productive is to do the following:

  • Read out and record each question on a voice recorder on your smartphone or laptop.
  • Answer each question honestly. This is for you and no one else.
  • Talk as if you were sitting with the most caring, kind and non-judgmental person in the world.

Self-discovery questions

  • Is your freelance career as it stands right now sustainable for your earning power and health?
  • Are you working long hours but still struggling financially? Is this a new issue or has it started since taking on a new client?
  • When you have a good work day what does it look like?
  • What made it a ‘good’ day? Who did you work with? What did you work on? Were you more productive and if so, why do you think that was the case? Did you fit in some joyful moments?
  • When you have a bad day working what does that look like?
  • What or who triggered the majority of your frustration?
  • The type or subject of your work? The people you had to problem-solve with? Too much work and not enough time?
  • Or was it something not work-related at all and something else, such as balancing family or physical or health issues?
  • Is the type of work or late hours having a negative impact on any aspect of your personal life (children, spouse) or well-being (i.e. starting to feel body pains, headaches, IBS, lethargy related to times of stress)?
  • Could you work with any particular clients differently? Such as reassessing the type of work you do with them or the days of the week you set aside for their projects?
  • Can you share your workload with a fellow freelancer through a partnership to increase earnings but share the workload? Pitch for fewer but more lucrative projects because you can provide multiple skills and options?
  • Are you consistently unhappy and dreading work? Is it the work or the client? Or both?
  • Do you dream of doing something else but stay in the same lane because of money worries?
  • Do you get excited about something and never feel like it is work, but rather something you love despite the challenges?
  • Would you do this most days if money was not an option for you?
  • Have you contacted someone doing what you see as your dream job to ask how they got started? The pros and cons? Read books on this line of area?

How to remap your life and livelihood through visualisation

Now that you have had a session of self-discovery, it’s time to visualise exactly what you want your life and career to look like. Focus on the end goal and what it looks and feels like.

Maya Raichoora is a life coach who has developed a technique for remapping one’s reality through visualisation, which is picturing in your mind what you want your life to look and feel like and then committing to small steps to make that visualisation a reality.

Here are the steps of the visualisation technique that you may want to try:

  1. Find a quiet and comfortable place where you can sit or lie down without any disturbance.
  2. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths to calm your mind and body.
  3. Visualise yourself in a place where you feel happy and content. This could be a real place or an imaginary one.
  4. Imagine that you are doing something that brings you joy and fulfillment. This could be a job, a hobby, or any other activity that you enjoy.
  5. Visualise yourself excelling in this activity and feeling a sense of pride and accomplishment.
  6. Imagine being surrounded by people who support and encourage you in your chosen path.
  7. Visualise the rewards and benefits that come with doing what you love, such as financial security, personal satisfaction, and a sense of purpose.
  8. Finally, affirm to yourself that you are capable of achieving your goals and living the life that you desire.

This technique can help you shift your mindset and focus on the positive aspects of your life and career. Visualising your ideal future, will help you gain clarity and motivation to take action towards your goals.

To learn more about the technique of visualisation, check out Maya’s personal story of visualisation and how she used it to overcome a life-debilitating illness and eventually set up her own business.

France is experiencing chaos from protests over Macron’s choice to increase the country’s pension age.
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