Breaking the 9-5

Changing Trends of Work Flexibility in Vancouver's Creative Industries

If there is ever an explanation of how a creative worker functions in a public sphere with technology, it’s that they are sleep-deprived digital nomads who are hungry for ‘work’. A portable laptop, WiFi connection, and a cup of overpriced coffee in hand make up the basic toolkit for a decently functioning worker. Vancouver is home to multi-faceted forms of jobs in the creative industries that include design, technology and multimedia workers scattered throughout the Lower Mainland. The ease of access to technology and the online conglomeration that consistently morphs new jobs today, has broken down the tradition of 9-5 work in office spaces. United by their drive for change and creating meaningful work, the culture of freelancing, flexible work hours and an entrepreneurial spirit has broken through the old ways of a structured job system. With the industry’s nature of being fast-paced and deadline driven, more people are turning to market themselves in the hopes of earning gigs, clients and projects over keeping one full-time job as form of work.

In pointing out the precarity, rigour, and needs of creative work, Digital Media Coordinator, Camille Reyes gives insight to her support of the current shifting work trends: “I most certainly understand how it could be difficult for creatives to express themselves while being at a structured job system, especially as different trends are changing in the world. The gig economy disrupts and creates these shifts that make it a little bit unstable, but hopefully we as workers would be able to instigate a change so working conditions can be fair.” All the more, creative work isn’t just a matter of “going and trading our time and money,” but it’s also about “what we can provide intellectually that other people aren’t able to produce on their own, which is why they pay for your work,” she adds. In support of this, Errol Tangco, who started making short video edits as a side project, has turned it into a promising career as a freelance filmmaker and videographer. “In order for me to stand out, I make sure I’m true to what I do, and what I put out. Showcasing the essence of who my clients are and what they envision their content would be, is something I go by with my work,” in how he keeps going when it comes to building his networking and professional portfolio.

Creative output that provides value to someone who can’t produce things on their own is an opportunity for creatives in freelancing and contractual gigs. But whether or not other creative workers have the same degree of autonomy as freelancers do, it is evident that there are many people who have so much purpose and passion in them. The fear of practical and economic instability no longer hinders them to embark on risks and hope to provide value to others through their creative process—whether it be working for someone else, working for a company or deciding to put up something of your own.

Categories: Writing