Greetings from Your Transitory Teammate

“You get to work in your pajamas all day!”

It’s the first thing people say when they learn I’m a freelance business writer. I smile and agree, even though it’s not true. I usually work in a tuxedo.

Fact is … the real reward of freelance writing has little to do with the personal freedom it brings. True, I’m never fighting the crowd at my gym, every trip to the supermarket is a breeze, and I certainly don’t miss my old commute (a 90-minute, molar-grinding crawl along I-95, each way). Still, at the end of the day, these are mere conveniences. The greatest reward my work offers is education. I’m always learning.

If you’re interested, I can cite best practices related to corporate breastfeeding programs. I can tell you about the intensive training that cable installation technicians undergo before graduating to fieldwork. I can explain how various types of espresso machines function. And I can relate the techniques that savvy business leaders use to nurture their organizations’ collaborative advantage.

Ok, I’m not an expert in any of these areas. But, thanks to my job, I’ve learned a little about a lot of different things. It’s actually quite cool to work with an ever-changing roster of subject matter experts, having them tutor me and impart their knowledge in the clear, compelling way that only true experts can. And helping them “translate” their expertise for wider audiences is both a challenge and a joy.

Of course, there’s a downside to my work. I no longer belong to a team. I’m an outsider. Transitory. Despite the fact that I’m an integral member of every group I join, I’m a temporary teammate at best. Don’t get me wrong — I have wonderful, long-standing relationships with many clients. But it’s not the same as being an insider, a member of the clan. And I miss the social aspects of working at a full-time position: the office friendships, the daily routines, even the clamor of a busy workplace.

Then again, I always get to pick the music here at the home office and nobody ever asks me to turn it down.

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