I typically don’t get political online. Mainly because I find it distasteful, being in the position that I’m in writing for an audience that includes a wide diversity of thoughts and opinions. I’m sure some of you would disagree with some of my core beliefs, just as I would disagree with some of yours. That doesn’t make either of us bad people. It just means we have different life circumstances that bring us to different belief systems that carry through our lives.
But this particular issue is something that directly impacts me and many other freelancers like me, and I felt compelled to state my piece on it.
Back last year, there was a lot of dust up over California’s AB5 bill, which basically limits the amount of work a freelancer can do in California before being forced into an employment situation they don’t want. This is, ostensibly, to protect the freelancer from being taken advantage of. (The main result of it is a lot of freelance writers losing some of their most lucrative clients or having the amount of work they can do severely curtailed.) But California lawmakers didn’t take into account (or chose not to take into account) that most freelancers don’t work freelance because they have to so much as because they want to. Freelancers typically choose this route—and believe me, it’s not an easy route—because it gives them something they’re looking for that they can’t find at a typical shift job. It might be flexibility. It might be more money. Whatever it is, going into freelancing is typically something you choose to do. And that comes with some trade-offs. You may decide that trading off benefits at a day job for the freedom and flexibility to work when you want and how much you want, to be able to work around whatever your life circumstances happen to be, is something that is more beneficial to you than having a restrictive desk job that gives you those benefits.
But politicians who are supporting this new wave of restrictive freelancing bills don’t seem to see it that way. You see, they are protecting us freelancers from ourselves. We can’t possibly understand what we really want or need, so these politicians who have probably never spoken to legitimate freelancers a day in their lives, on behalf of the AFL-CIO union, have decided they know what’s better for us more than we do. They know our life circumstances. They know what we need. And it’s not the freedom to work how we want.
So instead, they’re doing everything they can to gut the freelancing industry.
This morning, I read an article talking about how in New York, the state Assembly is working on a bill similar to California’s AB5 that will essentially force freelancers to become employees of a company or put themselves out of business. Many of the New York representatives in the House of Representatives (20 out of 27 of them) have cosponsored a similar bill on the federal level that pulls language verbatim from the AB5.
They’re calling it the PRO Act. And this is nothing but an attempt to regulate the freelancing field in the name of “protecting” freelancers from themselves.
Look, I chose to freelance. This is literally my choice. I live in a small area without a lot of job options, and I have no desire to move to a bigger city to find a desk job that pays better than the one I’ve got. I still have a day job, but I make more money with my freelancing now than I do at that. I like living in a small town, and I don’t want to change that because some bozos in Washington have decided they know how I should live my life and spend my time on this Earth better than I do.
I work hard to make the money I make at freelancing, but if this bill passes, it will severely restrict the amount of work I can take on as a freelance editor. This will literally gut the money that I bring in from my freelancing and destroy my financial situation.
I use a lot of my freelancing money to finance my writing and book releases. No more freelancing money means no more books to put out, because I will be spending more time working at a day job that will eat into what time I would have available to write. And I would have to be putting all that money towards bills and other obligations, which means no money to put towards prepping a book for release. So that means no more books for you guys.
The PRO Act is a piece of garbage that unnecessarily interferes with ordinary Americans’ lives and damages their financial livelihoods that they earn in the methods they chose. Please, please call your representatives and tell them not to go forward with the PRO Act. They’re hurting more people than they think they’re helping with this bill.
And if any of you are interested in my freelance editing services, please check out my website at Edits by Jessica. I’m open to taking on more than just manuscript work; if you need a proofreader or copyeditor for your blog or website, get in touch with me, and let’s negotiate a rate that works for you!