08 FEBRUARY 2017

written by Mike




For a few years I worked for a big movie studio in a post production department. Our projects were the biggest blockbusters in the recent times, and the inflow of work is quite steady. “Dream job!” you may want to shout. Well, just like everything this kind of career choice also has its faults. Let’s have a look at strong and weak points of working nine to five in a ‘factory of dreams.’ 



Steady money.

I guess this is the biggest one. Nothing to do and you spend all day on your phone? Not to worry, a paycheck will be the same.

Is Christmas coming up? Holidays?

Not to worry, you can calculate how much you will earn and save. Every month you are guaranteed to receive agreed amount of money. It is your salary. If a company is doing ok, your salary is not affected. Profits rise? You can expect a bonus or a raise. Planning holidays, birthdays, family, house, cars and anything in between is much easier when you know you have a steady monthly income. It gives you that peace of mind.

Steady work.

All contracts are negotiated by company directors and can last for years. The company I worked for had schedule sorted for next few years, and this was only a core contract. There are usually small, short-term projects coming in too. You can plan and develop strategies months in advance. You can predict how difficult the project will be and how much additional man/woman power you will need. When you go on holiday, you go on vacation. Meaning, you don’t have to think about clients or money. You can rest.

The company is the brand, and you are helping to build it.



Credit score.

Mortgage plans? Loan for a new car?

No problem. I don’t have to write that banks and lending companies will look at you with a smile when they see your job contract. It means your income is steady, and it means you can pay back your loans. The risk of your default is much lower than a risky freelancer, so it is easier to take advantages of modern world financial system.


Again, you don’t have to worry about it too much. Your tax will be sorted by Finance Department. Insurance is paid before you receive your money. A pension plan should be in place too. And you get paid holiday (at least here in Europe). The money that you receive at the end of every month is yours. Meaning, you don’t need an accountant of a financial advisor. Just a bit of rationality and a good sense of what to do with your cash.


I can guarantee that you will be surrounded with smart and experienced people.

And this is every day, at least, five days a week. It means it is an excellent opportunity for you to learn, develop your skills and get mentors. Some of the people I worked with had been with the company for over twenty years. Working on classic pictures and with analog sound and classic mixing desks. Their stories, experience, and knowledge are priceless. Trust me, six months with these people and I learned more than in four years of college. The environment will keep you motivated and inspired. And you don’t have distractions such as TV or games, which also helps.





“Comfort?! How is that a bad thing?!”

I know, it is quite controversial. For a bit, I was contemplating how I should categorise it. For me, it’s a drawback, but for you, it can be the best thing. It is a personal thing so don’t take my word for it. I tend to think that people can get too comfortable.

Steady money? Check.

Regular work? Check.

Well, it means that you don’t have to worry too much, right?

It does. But it can also mean a lack of challenge. You can get complacent. And it can be a bad thing. You must know yourself and your priorities first, only then you can decide what is best for you.

Corporate ladder.

Big company means a corporation. Working in a small advertisement company may be different, but corporation means bureaucracy. Big means slow. Any change or request will have to be approved by three different managers, director, and board of members. For the people in Finance department, you are number 367. You are your tax code. And it also means office politics. You better learn how to play the game, or you will end up resenting it every day.

I know people who thrive in this kind of environment, but I also know a few who loathe it. Which one are you? 



Can’t start/leave on your time.

You show up at nine; you leave at five. It does not matter that it’s not busy. That you end up sitting on a couch all day. You still have to clock in and clock out. And days like that can be slow. Of course in a busy environment, they are relatively rare but still can happen. And sometimes they can make you question your career choices.

Can’t choose projects.

Schedules are set; projects are negotiated without your input. Your tasks are selected for you, and you have little autonomy. Your freedom and creative input will be restricted, and you will have to conform to certain standards. You may work on the biggest film of the year, but you will have to do it in a certain way. And often you can’t change it as much as you would like to.

Can get boring.

Yes, it is exciting. Yes, there are big projects. But it still can get boring. I mean editing footsteps day in and out for weeks gets tedious for everyone and I don’t care how massive the movie or game is. Once your boss assigns you to a certain task, you will have a little freedom and flexibility. And like everyone else you will start watching the clock and wishing it was Friday already.

On the bright side, you must keep learning and developing your skills so you can be assigned to more interesting and exciting parts of the job.

Ok, that’s it. I hope that now you have a much better understanding what are the differences between these two choices, independent and full time. Some people prefer steady job and paycheck; others can’t imagine sitting in the same room every day. I would advise you to try both. Freelance for a bit but also work for someone too. It will give you a clear idea of it, and you will learn how do you prefer to work.

I know people who work full time and still freelance on weekends so you can still do both! Remember don’t think about it in black and white categories. I’ve done freelance; I was in full-time employment.

Try to shake it up once a while, as there is nothing like a change.

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