When you are self-employed sick pay and a guaranteed wage every month are a luxury. But here are 3 things I don't miss about working for someone else

I raised the question a few weeks back in a freelancers group about what didn’t we all miss about working for someone else. Despite the achievements of working for yourself, there are always the things you do miss about being in someone else’s gainful employment. The little things like the guaranteed wages in the bank every month. Having other people around you all day to have idle chit-chat with (granted that can also be a negative). Sick pay. Holiday pay. When you become self-employed those things can feel like a luxury at times. Add in the emotional rollercoaster of starting your own business and avoiding going broke as a freelancer!

But the things we all didn’t miss seemed to be quite universal and everyone could relate to them. Perhaps these are rooted in the reasons we’ve all gone over to the dark side of self-employment in the first place!


I can’t begin to describe to you how much I used to hate commuting. That daily grind of sitting in traffic. Running the gauntlet of other stressed commuters. And what if there’s a crash or some other obstruction on your route? That heart sinking feeling of no matter what you do, you’ll be late.

When I lived in Dublin it would regularly take me around 90 minutes to do the school run and then get to work. It was a total of about 4 miles. 4 miles!!! It would probably have been quicker to walk if I didn’t have a small child in tow. That daily awful commute just set my day up to go from bad to worse. The poor child would regularly be late for school. I would then be late for work and it felt that the earlier I left each morning the longer it would take. It became a daily worry and a major source of stress.

When I moved back to the UK I had an awful job that gave out warnings like sweeties for being late. It didn’t matter what the reason was, it was like being called to the headmasters office. I totally understand the need to have staff all playing by the rules. Having some form of discipline that everyone arrives on time. But in today’s world, I can not fathom how employers don’t understand that everyone has different living circumstances. Sometimes getting up in a morning, getting a child ready, navigating traffic, perhaps dealing with an unreliable car, public transport and the unpredictable actions of other road users, can feel like climbing a mountain before you even arrive at work. Why do you want your employees arriving stressed out each morning just because you can’t get your head around flexible working?


Any of you that have ever worked in corporate hell will understand what I mean about this. That heart sinking moment when the meeting request hits your mailbox. You know it’s just a meeting to plan another meeting. That will probably end up being two meetings. To which you’ll then have a follow-up meeting.

I wonder how many business hours are lost every year by the needless meetings that could have just been a quick phone call. Or better still, an email that you’ll never read.

I’ve lost count at the number of meetings I attended during the proper job days that were an absolute, total and utter waste of time. Time that I could have used to do some actual work! Most meetings are arranged because the so-called leaders are incapable of making a decision or don’t want to take the responsibility. They feel the need to let others think it’s a joint decision when really it’s more about arse covering for when said decision all goes wrong. I don’t think I could tell you about a time I’ve walked out of a meeting back in those days when I felt like I had learnt something or been suitably informed.


Let’s face it. Most offices, that contain more than a handful of people, have some form of internal political system. These usually stem from incompetent management causing no confidence amongst the staff. Or, and a far worse cause, management that seeks to bully and control their staff using fear. In these incidences, there will be a small number of staff who, in an attempt to cover up their own incompetence, will seek favour with the management and partake in the bullying of others. Chances are the ‘others’ will be the more competent of staff.

In all cases, the root cause will fundamentally be trust. Nobody trusts each other because ultimately, bully or bullied, nobody has any inner job security. From the labelling of food in the shared office fridge to the cc’ing of every man and his dog on an email that could and should have been a phone call. The continual acts of arse covering are probably one of the top reasons for staff turnover and loss of productivity.

And let’s not even go there on the water cooler bitching. This is just another form of bullying. Having been on the receiving end of this type of behaviour, I can tell you, it makes me even more happy that I got out of that awful environment.


Let’s face it, employees spend enough time at work, without it being like hell on earth. From the stress of getting there in a morning, sitting through unnecessary meetings to then being copied on endless arse covering emails. Is it any wonder that so many people feel like they just work to live and feel unfulfilled by their work?

Even though the self-employed, freelancer life can be hard at times. Even though there are times when every freelancer has taken a sneaky peak at the jobs websites and thought it might just be an easier option. And when all your employed friends know exactly what they will earn next month. I’d still rather be out in the world doing it all my way.

Are you thinking of taking the leap into the self-employed world? What won’t you miss about working for someone else?