my wife is a freelancer actually--and has been in business for a little more than ten years now, and is a very good business person. I'm just not that good--I'm the type of person who makes a good employee. I was never good at dealing with the business end, which is probably why my freelance career has been so spotty.
I realize now--that this was what made me a good newspaper type photographer, and then later on how I wound up being this museum staffer--when I never set out to do that formally. I just gravitated to working for someone else....I guess it's the security in the end.
But my wife always says that if the phone isn't ringing, you're not working...she has no days off. no sick leave. It's hard as hell to get out of town and take some time off, because work is always there. But it's good to be busy...
Me--otoh--I'm always busy, but it's on a schedule. There's a lifetime of work--and then there are these exhibits and patron work that keep us going as well. But my time is accounted for. I accrue annual leave, sick leave, comp time etc. If I have to work OT, I get time and a half (comp). If I work a holiday, I get paid extra and get another day off.
I didn't get a raise for a couple of years, because the gov't was out of money more or less. what I got instead was vacation time, that I could carry indefinitely. I now have a couple of months of vacation leave, and I have months of sick leave. All that I can cash in towards retirement someday.
I'm also vested. I get a percentage of my salary every year as a bonus. So, I have become a company photographer. The trade offs are what probably a lot of people here would see as maybe being something that would be like "working for the Man". But, everything is supplied. When I travel--I get vehicles, I get a little card & a key with access to gas pumps all over the place. I get food & lodging. I don't have to worry about insurance--no liabilility inusrance or equipment, or worker's comp issues etc. I have pretty good health benefits, and I'll have a pension as well. These are all the sorts of business things that will eat you alive in the freelance world, or the small business world.
like I said--I consider myself to be lucky, and I do like my job as well. I know that some people would feel boxed in this way though, but I'm also of a mindset where I personally feel like downsizing my life. I don't need fancy cars, a big house or anything. All that is a trap, imho. I made this tradeoff a long time ago, and I just figure if I can make out my time, retire--then I can do what I want to do. I'll be about in my early 50s when I can retire. That's when I'll plan my second career as a museum curator and move into the higher pay grades (snark). I'll be like the old timers at the newspaper lab and the archives lab--the guys who put in 30+ yrs of service and regaled me with stories of shooting football games on one sheet of film with the speed graphics. Or who traveled across the state to shoot an inauguration with one holder for 8x10 film. They were all company guys as well--and they put in 30-35 years of service and saw a whole change of the industry as well. I don't have a problem with that--I admire them for it.
my opinions only, as always