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Recession Makes Salaried Employment More Awful than Usual

Reason to freelance number 1,290,789: the alternative is not knowing when the axe will fall and having your skills wasted by clueless managers

Are you a freelancer or a contractor? Does the thickening recession give you nightmares? Well, spare a thought for your brothers and sisters who toil like slaves in regular employment, as two reports confirm that salaried employment sucks.

Fear and loathing in the shadow of the axe

The Washington Post reported on the current trend for workers to stick to traditional working hours, voluntarily giving up their flexible working arrangements in order to appear keen and eager to work. As one worker said: "I think anybody with a flexible arrangement feels like their job is on the line."

In spite of the fact that flexible arrangements are generally designed to create a happier, more productive workforce, they are being replaced by long hours at the deskface.

Wasted skills

Meanwhile the Guardian were reporting a study by The Work Foundation which suggests that employers are striving to retain staff, but aren't striving to make good use of them. It seems as though the panic gripping many corporations is leading to poor decision-making.

Ian Brinkley of The Work Foundation said: "So far in this recession, employers have been reluctant to lose the skills, talents and experience of their workforces. Yet at the same time they seem to be failing to make the most of them. Many people could be doing more but are denied the chance to do so."

Ian goes on to criticise bureaucratic hierarchies everywhere: "More autonomy for people and less intensive management should be the order of the day - in other words greater use of the principles of good work. Trapping so many workers in roles in which their skills and abilities are poorly matched with their jobs is a waste both of economic potential and human possibility."

What's the point of all this?

Is the glut of gloomy economic news getting you down? Are you concerned about finding enough jobs to keep you busy? Or is the prospect of finding your next contract giving you palpitations?

You may be able to take some comfort from the fact that there is not more security in regular employment. Salaried employment is not necessarily the safest place to be in a recession. And as these reports show, there is a great deal of fear and insecurity in every market. The great thing about freelancing and contracting is that  you are in control. You don't have to tip-toe into the office each day, sweat through fevers and work through lunch breaks.

You don't have to waste your "human possibility". You can freelance.