Freelance success – the term, not the column – is a murky concept. Most 9-to-5 jobs feature easy-to-identify highlights: a glowing, life-affirming performance review, a raise, maybe a promotion. Your boss likes you, so she lets you work from home or gets you that sweet parking spot. Perhaps you get a sizable gift card for your birthday.
I never got these perks. At my last full-time job, birthdays were marked with the same apple cake served on plastic plates in the boss’s sad, sterile office, the final scene in a Raymond Carver story. It was fitting that the office sat next to a cemetery.