I never wanted to be part of the 9-5 job scene, a fact I knew from pretty early on in my working years. I got my master’s degree in NYC, hoping to be part of the publishing world, but quickly found the corporate environment stifling and unfulfilling.

The position I wanted (copyeditor) didn’t really exist in the corporate ladder structure until one spent at least 7 years in the job… and even then, it was only part of the job responsibilities. I wanted to copyedit—period. I spent time in some editorial 9-5 positions because I needed experience to launch into freelancing. But I struck out on my own as soon as could. In fact, I took odd freelancing jobs even before I graduated so I could build a resume and reputation.

Some would describe freelancing as a fundamentally unstable situation (and thus that the people who freelance need some sort of protection), but this is a shallow and very limited view. I (and millions of others) choose freelancing and everything that comes with it… and that includes flexibility, power over what we earn, the jobs we sign up for, and how we use our time and resources.

Some have noted that they are subject to meager wages—but who signed up for those terms? I am in charge of my terms. If I don’t like it, I don’t need to say yes. If I say yes to less-than-desirable terms, that’s on me. We don’t need or want someone to “protect” us.

It is our responsibility to protect us, and we will not outsource that to anybody. A 9-5 can burn an employee just as much as a freelancing client. It may seem that a 9-5 is more secure, but let me tell you this: My family is better off, I am better off professionally and personally, and my community is better off when I can operate on my own timeline and on my own terms. I have only ever wanted to freelance, and as an American, I am entitled to work how I wish.