Au­ton­o­mous An­i­ma­tor: Em­ployee vs. In­de­pen­dent An­i­ma­tion Pro­fes­sional?

Animation Magazine - - Front Page - By Martin Gre­bing

The dif­fer­ences be­tween a nine-to-fiver and an in­de­pen­dent pro­fes­sional are as stark as night and day. The fol­low­ing list can be used to give your­self a se­ri­ous gutcheck in the ca­reer to help see where you re­ally want to be.

For ex­am­ple, an em­ployee al­most al­ways has a stan­dard­ized work sched­ule set in stone, usu­ally re­quir­ing their pres­ence eight or nine hours a day with a short, some­times op­tional, lunch break be­gin­ning at noon and end­ing 30-60 min­utes later. An in­de­pen­dent pro­fes­sional has the op­tion of utiliz­ing a flex­i­ble sched­ule at will, which can be ad­justed day to day based on per­sonal needs and pro­fes­sional goals.

An em­ployee is told what to do by their su­per­vi­sor. An in­de­pen­dent pro­fes­sional cre­ates their own task list.

An em­ployee an­swers to their su­per­vi­sor, who an­swers to their su­per­vi­sor, ad nau­seam. An in­de­pen­dent pro­fes­sional an­swers only to their clients.

An em­ployee nor­mally gets paid weekly or bi-weekly. An in­de­pen­dent pro­fes­sional re­ceives money when­ever in­voices are paid or pur­chases are made. This can amount to re­ceiv­ing money sev­eral times per week or even mul­ti­ple times in a sin­gle day.

An em­ployee re­ceives money for their ef­forts from a sin­gle source: their job. An in­de­pen­dent pro­fes­sional can re­ceive money from mul­ti­ple sources and mul­ti­ple clients si­mul­ta­ne­ously. Any fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor will en­cour­age you to di­ver­sify in­stead of putting all of your eggs into one bas­ket. Why not ap­ply this con­cept of di­ver­sity to­ward re­ceiv­ing mul­ti­ple rev­enue streams, as well? As an in­de­pen­dent pro­fes­sional, this is stan­dard prac­tice.

An em­ployee’s pay is lim­ited and usu­ally based on a pre­de­ter­mined, nom­i­nal fixed wage. An in­de­pen­dent pro­fes­sional’s pay has un­lim­ited po­ten­tial and can mul­ti­ply ex­po­nen­tially, even quickly, based on the num­ber of clients ac­quired, the num­ber of projects pro­duced, and over­all per­for­mance.

An em­ployee rarely re­ceives any amount of profit-shar­ing from their com­pany, re­gard­less of ef­fort or ten­ure. An in­de­pen­dent pro­fes­sional re­ceives full prof­its from all of their en­deav­ors, all the time. An in­de­pen­dent pro­fes­sional doesn’t have to strug­gle for decades, step on oth­ers to climb the com­pany lad­der, or play cor­po­rate head games for the chance to indulge in a slice of the com­pany pie. They re­ceive prof­its from day one.

An em­ployee has no job se­cu­rity, con­trary to pop­u­lar be­lief, as they truly have no idea how long their po­si­tion at their com­pany will be deemed nec­es­sary. Ad­di­tion­ally, if their po­si­tion may soon be com­ing to an abrupt end, chances are they will not be given sub­stan­tial no­tice but, rather, told at the very last pos­si­ble minute in hopes of re­duc­ing the chances of an in­ci­dent oc­cur­ring at the work­place upon re­ceiv­ing the shock­ing news. On the other hand, an in­de­pen­dent pro­fes­sional has ul­ti­mate job se­cu­rity be­cause they can work as many hours as they like for as long as they like. An in­de­pen­dent pro­fes­sional’s fu­ture rests squarely in their hands, while an em­ployee’s fu­ture at a com­pany is ul­ti­mately out of their con­trol.

An em­ployee is usu­ally not in­volved with big-pic­ture de­ci­sions or com­pany vi­sion plans. An in­de­pen­dent pro­fes­sional is in com­plete con­trol of all big-pic­ture de­ci­sions and com­pany vi­sion plans. In fact, be­ing Chief Vi­sioneer of your ca­reer is one of the most crit­i­cal and re­ward­ing as­pects of op­er­at­ing as an in­de­pen­dent pro­fes­sional.

An em­ployee is of­ten granted a very lim­ited, pre­de­ter­mined amount of va­ca­tion and leave time per year. An in­de­pen­dent pro­fes­sional is in con­trol of their own time and can en­joy un­lim­ited va­ca­tion and leave, pro­vided they work ahead and make sure all of their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties are taken care of in ad­vance. In fact, many in­de­pen­dent pro­fes­sion­als can op­er­ate re­motely, and their clients may not even be aware that they are on va­ca­tion half­way around the world.

An em­ployee tends to work be­cause they have to, not be­cause they want to — of­ten at a job they don’t en­joy. An in­de­pen­dent pro­fes­sional tends to work be­cause they are pas­sion­ate about their ca­reer and the life­style it pro­vides. More­over, an in­de­pen­dent pro­fes­sional is more likely to think of their ca­reer and life­style as a sin­gu­lar no­tion, while an em­ployee tends to sep­a­rate the two as much as pos­si­ble. Take care­ful in­ven­tory of how ful­filled you are in your cur­rent sit­u­a­tion. If you are not pas­sion­ate about your day-to-day ac­tiv­i­ties as listed above, it may be time for a change. ◆

Au­ton­o­mous An­i­ma­tor By Martin Gre­bing

An in­de­pen­dent pro­fes­sional is more likely to think of their ca­reer and life­style as a sin­gu­lar no­tion, while an em­ployee tends to sep­a­rate the two as much as pos­si­ble.

Martin Gre­bing is pres­i­dent of Fun­ny­bone An­i­ma­tion and can be reached at fun­ny­bonean­i­ma­

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