Into the Wild
By Greg Plummer
Our Vario Account Manager in Sydney, Greg Plummer recently travelled to South Africa. He explains how sleeping near lions made him reflect on a freelance career.
Into the Wild
November 2019 was South African Safari time for me and my partner.
Five star luxury, amazing food, incredible glamping tent (with no TV!), no perimeter fencing, and literally in the middle of nowhere. There was no Wi-Fi except in the main lodge and we went on twice daily (5 am and 4pm), 4 hour guided jaunts into the wilderness, with nothing really to do in between. You get a bit sick of it by day three.
The novelty wears off as you have to follow several freedom-limiting rules for your own safety. For example, you can’t walk anywhere outside alone at night, lest you be taken by a lion, or step on a snake.
However, once the jet lag has subsided, you start to do a bit of reflecting. It makes you think how we sometimes go through life taking a lot of the freedoms that we have for granted. Take away, or seriously impinge on those freedoms, and it quickly leads to discontent and angst, regardless of the luxury that you have around you.
For many of the freelance lawyers that we have on the Vario hub, freedom is reflected in the power they exert through taking control of their career. They can do the work they want, where they want and for how long they want (while doing what ever else they want to do, like running a side business or travelling the world).
Freelancers can still develop their careers, just like lawyers on the ‘traditional track’ in permanent roles in private practice firms, or in-house. A recent trend in Australia is that freelancing is no longer just the domain of senior lawyers; more and more are starting to freelance, much earlier in their careers. This isn’t a cop out. They still get the career development and mentoring they need to develop their skills, and to become great lawyers. The only difference is that they are just running their own businesses, enjoying better work-life balance and taking more control over how their careers develop. As Vario Zoe Harris described; “Freelancing in Vario is so flexible; it allows me to work and keep up with my career development and yet still pursue my passions”.
Freelancing isn’t for everyone, but it is for more and more people every year. Build a reputation as a smart, hard working, technically sound, commercially-astute freelancer, and lawyers might find themselves turning work away, doing the work that they find most interesting, and making as much money as they want.
For successful Varios, freelancing is their freedom; it’s the ability to choose what professional success looks like to you. In other words, to walk around unrestricted at night. For many, once they have experienced that freedom, the thought of that being taken away is unpalatable. Vario Meg Berlin described her experience of legal freelancing through Vario as follows, “Originally it was work to tide me over financially as I developed my other passions, but now that I could feasibly move away from it, I don’t actually want to. The variety of experiences it offers me, along with the control I have over where, how and when I work, is absolutely right for me.”
Please contact Vario Australia to learn about how contracting can change your perception of what career freedom is.