Feb 10, 2023

When I tell people I’m a freelancer, it’s not uncommon for a look of horror to wash over their face.

For the uninitiated, freelancing brings to mind a constant scramble for work, juggling multiple assignments with brutal turnaround times and payment schedules that leave you in the red for months. Don’t get me wrong — this is the reality for a lot of freelancers. It’s also a recipe for burnout. 

The reality is, there’s no one way to freelance. You could have a part-time job in the service industry or teach part-time and freelance for fifteen hours a week. You could work a whole full-time job and freelance on the side. For some people, this might bring them joy; to me, it does unfortunately scream “surviving under late-stage capitalism.” 


There’s also the route of taking on longer-term contracts. We have a few of them listed in our job section today, including a six-month contract from Wondery with a HOT rate. 


The beauty of working one job at a time is you no longer have the mental load of juggling. For example, today I am toggling back and forth between writing this newsletter and working on next week’s episode of It’s Political, the Toronto Star show I produce with Althia Raj outside of my work with Vocal Fry. Yesterday, I took on a substitute teaching job in the afternoon. It’s a lot of cognitive switching! It takes time and brain power!


(By the way – It’s Political was nominated for the Ambies. If you happen to be in the Podcast Academy, voting is open!)

I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of getting into a flow state with work. As someone who is often switching between tasks, flow is often just beyond my reach. I have been tweaking my routines for a while now, and if I figure out how to accomplish flow while juggling multiple tasks, I’ll let you know.


But there are good reasons why people like to work on multiple projects at once. I am one of them! There’s the obvious point that working on something different every day or every week has an element of novelty to it. What keeps me in this bucket is more the possibility of opportunity. If I hear about an exciting project, I don’t have to say no to a current project to take it on. If I can afford to have a month where my income is a bit lower, I can spend time developing my own projects that I want to try to bring to fruition. There’s room for mess and creativity and mid-day yoga classes.

To sidestep for a moment: earlier this week, I was reading the Responsa from the latest issue of Jewish Currents, Days of Rest. They pose a thought I’ve been sitting with for a long time:


“The point is not that ‘life’ and ‘work’ are categories that exist in simple opposition, but that nothing short of a radical revaluation of both could enable us to fight for a world where work serves life rather than the other way around.”


Freelancing, it seems, opens one up to the possibility of existential crisis. 


In both models – the long-term contract model and the part-time mosaic model – there is the possibility for overwork and working at times that you don’t particularly want to. You might need to work until one or two in the morning to get an episode out on time – I know I have spent many nights editing until the wee hours. 


But there’s also the possibility for beautifully structured boundaries that protect your life-living time from your work, and keep your work time solid enough to get into a flow state. I’m sure that having grown up keeping Shabbat – having Saturday as a day of sacred rest – contributes to my repulsion at the thought of working on a Friday night or Saturday. I have done it in the past, when I convinced myself it was absolutely necessary, but reinforcing boundaries between work and life is a practice, and I’m trying to get to a point where I’m never working on weekends.


Working in the podcast space often feels like trying to do an obstacle course that keeps getting moved around. My tolerance for chaos is high, and I like the challenge of moving with the winds, maybe even trying to anticipate which way they’ll blow next and setting myself up for that. But I think the only way to manage this kind of career – for me, at least – is to protect my non-work time as best as I can. 


On that note, Kattie Laur will be writing next week’s VALENTINE’S newsletter. I am very excited to read it.

tweet of the week

jobs hot from the fryer

B.C.-based JAR Audio is hiring a remote audience growth specialist. The salary range is $65k-$80k. 


Wondery is hiring a senior story editor/lead writer for a show about royals around the globe. They’re looking for someone to start ASAP, and you can apply via this Google form. It’s a six-month contract with an option for extension, and it pays $8,400/month. 


CBC Newfoundland and Labrador is hiring a permanent, full-time producer assigned to current affairs to work out of Corner Brook. They’ll be working on Newfoundland Morning, a three-hour morning show. Apply by EOD February 20. 


CBC is hiring two associate producers for The National – one on a two-year term, and one permanent. Apply by EOD February 17. 


CBC Nunavut is hiring a permanent, full-time assignment producer who can work in Inuktitut and English. Apply by EOD February 15.


CBC Nunavut is also hiring a permanent, full-time current affairs producer who can work in Inuktitut and English for the afternoon show, Tausannie. Apply by EOD February 15.


CBC North is hiring a permanent, full-time senior manager of journalism and programming who can work in Inuktitut and English. Apply by EOD February 21. 

CBC Halifax is hiring a permanent, part-time weekend editor/presenter. Apply by EOD February 24.

hey freelancer!

The Local is hiring for their paid summer fellowship. Applications are due by March 20, but they encourage folks to apply early as they will interview candidates as they apply.   

You absolutely MUST read Kattie Laur’s Pod The North this week, in which she interviews Jordan Heath-Rawlings of Frequency Podcast Network about how they’re planning to work with indie podcasts.

what we're listening to

This week we have another fabulous recommendation from our podcast listener extraordinaire, max collins!

I've come to realize that my hill to die on in 2023 will be explaining to people that the pastime bringing (almost) all political viewpoints together is hating on transgender people. "But max," you object, "people on the political left are VERY tolerant of trans people! Plus, my friends and I love going to drag brunch on Sundays." As much as I would like to believe trans identities are respected by at least one side of the mainstream political spectrum, I am also privy to the torrent of anti-trans prestige pieces coming out of trusted news outlets: The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Guardian, and Reuters, to name a few. [Note: I'm purposefully not linking these articles so as to not spread their transphobic messages. If you're interested, you can find them on Google.] When I explain this to some of my left-leaning non-trans pals, I can only assume they picture me sporting a tinfoil hat and waving around an end-times cardboard sign as I evangelize – and fair enough, I'm not great at explaining the nuances of the issue.


Fortunately, this problem has been taken on by thinkers smarter than I on the newest episode of Cancel Me, Daddy. Journalist and host Katelyn Burns sits down with podcaster extraordinaire Michael Hobbes to look at the latest feature focused on handwringing about trans youth, this iteration coming out of the New York Times. Katelyn and Michael go into detail about where this moral panic comes from, how it reflects other moral panics in the past few decades, and why the "debate" around trans healthcare is disingenuous through and through. On this series, co-hosts Katelyn Burns and Oliver Ash-Kleine (and friends) continue to do amazing work in debunking this, and other, moral panics du-jour. I'll gleefully add this to my repertoire of resources for any time i need to scream about mine and my community's right to exist while trans.

- max collins

what's happening at vocal fry

The third episode of Rights Back At You is out this week. It looks at anti-Muslim hate, unhoused people getting kicked out of encampments, and how big tech is making itself right at home, in, well… our homes. We’re looking at you, doorbell cameras…   

Listen to Rights Back At You on your fave platform:


We’re looking for sources! This season of Playing With Marbles will be about under-30s mental health, and we invite you to be a part of it. If you’re under 30 years old, live with any of the conditions listed below, and want to talk about it during our upcoming season – we want to hear from you!


OCD & body dysmorphia

Anxiety, panic disorders and phobia

Bipolar I & II

Criminalized disorders (substance and impulse control)


PTSD/Trauma-related disorders

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Thanks to Emily Latimer for editing this newsletter, and to Katie Jensen for designing it.

We’ll see you again on February 17. Until then, here’s an update from producer Kattie Laur’s dog, Joe. 

Yours in friends and fries,

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