Autonomous Animator: Employee vs. Independent Animation Professional?
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 funnyboneanimation.com.