• Mon, Aug 1 2011

The Job Slut: Friends With (Work) Benefits

Every job slut needs a cabal of like-minded and like-employed freelancing friends. They’re great for networking, brainstorming, and commiserating. Besides, who else might be free for a mid-week afternoon at the movies? Not your pals working nine to five.

But it’s important to befriend job monogamists, too. If they talk openly about their own earnings and benefits, you’ll better know what to charge your clients. Friends with W-2s might have the inside scoop on something that affects your industry. They keep things in perspective, too. Sometimes we need to be reminded why we’ve chosen one path over another. And sometimes we need to turn around and go back where we came from.

Paul McCartney isn’t the only one who gets by with a little help from his friends. Here are five friends every job slut needs to survive:

1. The Connector: Whatever your need, this friend knows someone or knows someone who knows someone. Even better, he or she has no problem whipping up an email introduction or sharing a phone number. Wherever — or however — you work, there’s always at least one Connector at any given workplace. Figure out who it is, be grateful, and keep in touch.

2. The Flush Freelancer: Unfortunately, many job sluts struggle to pay the bills each month. Find a fellow job slut who’s got his or her finances in check. (Here’s one way to tell: Find a steady worker and mention the words “bills” or “taxes.” If he or she doesn’t look doomed or nauseated, say “savings.” If he or she recognizes that word, you may have found your Flush Freelancer.) Instead of borrowing a few bucks, try to sponge off your friend’s financial savvy. Topics worth exploring: accounting, banks, the difference between being an LLC vs. an independent contractor, and Roth IRAs.

3. The Inviter: Job sluts may juggle work, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they get out much. Especially freelance writers. The Inviter, often an extroverted friend in PR, is crucial for social interaction. Don’t resist the siren call of the “Open bar this Thursday!” email subject line. You might make new friends or get an organic, inebriated chance to network. Plus you’ve got an excuse to air out your sweatpants.

4. The Elder: Respect, seek out, and listen to your Elders. Older adults who live in your city — and who aren’t your parents or your parents’ friends — know what they’re talking about. Find someone doing what you want to do, and ask for guidance. Few people will turn down the chance to be a mentor. After all, they probably had someone left them along the way. It doesn’t take that much effort to be a mentor or mentee. A simple email can change your life. (Read “How I Got Into Marketing”).

5. The Motivator: May you all be blessed to have one or two Motivators. I have a few — one of them is an ex-boyfriend who constantly forwards me job openings and coupons for cupcakes. Sometimes The Motivator finds you. Other times you have to be pro-active and ask for what you want. No one can keep an eye out for something — a job opening, a story, a piece of information — if they don’t know you’re looking for it. Let your friends know what you want/need, and see if they can help you. And of course, the best way to keep a Motivator? To pay it forward with your own friends and anyone who seeks your help (or doesn’t).

Do you fit one of these friend profiles? Are there any important friends I left out?

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  • Madeeha Merchant

    This is a great article. Not one of the boring lists we commonly come across in magazines !

  • Mike

    You forgot The Psycho-therapist: He is the person who claims to have a degree in Educational Psychology and write articles about good well being and does not apply them in his life =).

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