It has been a strange, strange week. As has become tradition the past few years, I spent at least part of my Australian Grand Prix weekend working for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald newspapers. Plans were hatched, story plans sorted. And then a strike by journalists on both papers threw things into chaos.
On this first day of the race weekend, I had no idea whether I was working for a paper, its online version, neither, both … as it turned out, it was business as usual for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to carry out the plans we’d agreed upon beforehand, and nothing more. I was keen to fulfil my commitments, but not do what some would in the circumstances by taking on more work to get their name plastered across both papers at a difficult time.
What wasn’t as enjoyable was not being able to work with several full-timers, pros in the business who I respect greatly, who were on strike for a cause close to them and one I sympathise with. What I also didn’t like was the pressure placed on me by some journos (not the afore-mentioned ones I didn’t get to work with, other types who felt they should weigh in) that I should somehow stand down from my commitments over the weekend in a show of solidarity or something else that must have escaped me. I’m a freelance, and as such will make my own decisions as to who I want to work with and when. I feel sympathy for the people about to lose their jobs in an industry that’s going to hell in a handbasket – but who feels sympathy for me when I do a job for six months and don’t get paid, or don’t take paid leave (or any leave, let’s be honest), or my pathetic superannuation, or any other aspects of being a freelancer that can be difficult? Nobody sheds a tear for me then, not that I want them to. Spare me the questioning of my moral compass. I don’t meddle in your work issues, and I sure as hell don’t want you meddling in mine.
Minor rant over, some linkage from the weekend: