How natural disasters affect Freelancers?

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How “free” is a freelancer? How do natural disasters affect us?

The year 2020 has just kicked off, yet numerous natural disasters have already shocked the world. And it has left us devastated. Bush fires in Australia, a flash flood in Indonesia, along with three volcanic eruptions in the pacific; and there is just no easy way to describe these.

Being a freelancer, the said events can also affect us in different manners. But first off, let me describe the field of work of a freelancer.  Basically, freelancers self-employ themselves. Meaning, that they don’t need an employer or a “boss” to give them their job. They get the latter directly to the client or at times, a number of clients, to be done at a given deadline (Source: Debitoor). Once the tasks have been handed to them, they let their artistry and skills do their thing.

Now, how are freelancers different from other people with different jobs, when calamities and disasters strike?

Freelancer’s disadvantage when nature strikes.

When catastrophe strikes, a different level of anxiety turns up into a freelancer’s cognizance. Once the internet connection and power supply start to wane, so does their livelihood; and some disasters can be ruthless, as we learned in the world’s history. Hence, such services wouldn’t be able to function by any means possible. Who would have forgotten when one of the most destructive typhoons hit the Philippines in 2013? The super typhoon, internationally named Haiyan, destroyed 566 transmission towers and 7 substations of the National Grid Corporation (NGCP) (Source: Power-Technology). Meanwhile, the recent series of eruptions of Mt. Taal in Batangas, Philippines paralyzed the power supply of different towns, in and near the area (Source: ABS-CBN News).

We are undeniably in the internet age, and internet connections usually require electricity. Clients are sending freelancers’ tasks through e-mail and other platforms. Moreover, their output mostly requires the internet before it can be finished. Therefore, without those, productivity will take a massive hit. Bringing tons of work to a standstill, leaving them profitless. As well as causing their clients an array of disappointment.

Recently, we received negative feedback from a new client, he gave us a 3.5 rating on UpWork because of the late delivery of the project. I tried to negotiate and told him that we recently experienced a natural disaster that prevented us from delivering on the committed due date. Fortunately, he adjusted it to 4.2 but still, not-so-perfect feedback hurts.


But, what are our advantages?

On the other hand, imagine you are in your comfortable bedroom. It is a cold, rainy morning. You are sipping a rich cup of coffee, while at work. Isn’t it the best job that everyone in their “adulting” phase could ever dream of? During calamities, office people still need to go to their workplaces as it is “business as usual”. However, with the recent series of eruptions of Mt. Taal, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)  released a protocol calling for those businesses to suspend work, due to the risks imposed by volcanic ash exposure. But some employees are afraid they will be unpaid for the time being, so some still opted to go to work (Source: Business Mirror).

In this manner, freelancers edge those in other forms of jobs; given that a calamity or natural disaster won’t be much of a disturbance to the internet and power supply. Freelancers wouldn’t be stuck in flooded areas. Nor get all gruesome in commuting in bad weather. As they are independent, freelancers can do their job at any time and place conveniently. No “absence”, “no late”, and no “LOA” mark by a company during a calamity.

These are some of the pros and cons of being a freelancer during difficult weather and time. However, this blog does not intend to degrade those in other jobs. The same as anyone working decently for their livelihood, the world of freelancing is a chosen career. At the end of the day, difficulties as such are inevitable, no matter what your job is. But the sense of fulfillment comes right after overcoming those hardships. And as the saying goes, “there is always a rainbow after the rain.

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