There are only two things I miss about working in a regular office job (besides regular interaction with the rest of the working world, of course).
1) IT – Tech Support. I can’t even count the number of hours I’ve spent tearing my hair out over some computer problem that an IT department could fix in minutes. Or how many hours I’ve spent on the phone with obnoxious “help” desks that are horribly misnamed. My own personal IT department is number one on my freelance wish list.
2) HR. Granted, HR departments can be a big pain in the ass, but generally, they help you get paid, on time, and work out all those little details like taxes, benefits, vacation time, and personal/medical leave. I had a baby last May, and I just assumed that because I work for myself, I wasn’t entitled to any kind of maternity or other medical benefits, even though I pay hefty self-employment taxes. Turns out freelancers do qualify for maternity benefits under the Paid Family Leave program (part of State Disability). Only hitch is that you have to pay for related but separate California’s Disability Insurance Elective Coverage. (Essentially, you pay in a certain percentage based on what you make, and if you go on leave, you get back a certain percentage of what you would be making if you were working. The rates are pretty reasonable and the benefit certainly seems worth it.)
I have no idea how I was supposed to know this. It’s not like I could sit down and have a meeting with myself about the benefits available to me as a freelancer. I suppose when I became self-employed I should have done more research about what was available to me and what wasn’t. But mostly I was just trying to get PAID (and keep my equipment running.)
Now I know. And hopefully someone else can benefit from my lack of foresight.