The Job Slut: Should You Work And Tell?

People often ask how I juggle having various jobs at any given time. I send the question right back. “How do you do it?”

All of us balance work with play and relationships and having a life. I actually think managing hours for various work commitments is easier than say, figuring out how to get enough quality time both alone and with your significant other. Because with freelancing, it’s business — watching your time is necessary. In your personal life, it’s often perceived as insensitive. (It shouldn’t be, but it is. As far as I’m concerned, this goes in the same mental file folder as homophobia and grown women in rompers.)

So juggling time isn’t unique to la vida job slut, but juggling information is. Like any other job, I have to apply and interview for most of the freelance work I have. That always includes telling my prospective employer about my other commitments. Once I’m in the door, though, it’s pretty much a “don’t ask, don’t tell” situation. My goal is to keep every client happy, but they still have to be respectful of my time. They know they’re not The One, and they can’t meet all my needs.

Sigh. If only juggling a few great permalance guys were this easy.

I’m all about sharing my work via social networking when it makes sense, so I’m not worried about one client finding out about another. In fact, I’m sure they will. I just don’t want two separate jobs to blend together. If you’re not in a committed relationship with someone, do you really need — or want — to hear all about the other people he or she is seeing?

No. You’d rather snoop online. Like an emotionally stable person.

Here are a few other ways you have to treat juggling multiple jobs like juggling multiple romantic partners:

1) Don’t work and tell.

It’s fine for the interview. It’s not something you should bring up in casual conversation anytime after. Companies don’t want someone blabbing about their business to someone else, especially a competitor.

If you’re asked about another job, you can say something generic. But don’t go into too many specifics. It’ll make whomever’s asking start to compare experiences. The “you did it with him/her, why not me?” conversation is never fun in any context.

2) No double-duty.

It’s one thing to have two similar clients who give you the same kind of assignment. It’s another to do exactly the same thing for both of them, whether we’re talking about producing similar copy or building doppelganger websites. Each of your clients is a unique snowflake. Treat them as such.

And don’t even think about going on-site, finding yourself idle, and doing work for someone else. You’ll get caught. It’s really easy to fire a freelancer.

3) Set boundaries.

I’ve mentioned this, but I’ll say it again: Job sluts have got to watch their time. Some clients will want you all to themselves, and you’re not getting paid for that. Set a precedent by getting in and leaving when you say you will. Don’t bend just because there’s plenty of work to do. Besides, freelance gigs tend to treat you better when you’re not overly available. That shows you’re in demand.

Fellow job sluts, what tips am I missing? Do you work and tell?

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