About one month ago, I undertook what turned out to be my first paid photo shoot. This should have been cause for celebration, but unfortunately, it was the beginning of financial stress.
A few months after losing my last job, I started to receive employment insurance (EI) benefits from the federal government. As part of this program, I have to file a bi-weekly report detailing my activities for the preceding two-week period. This includes any income earned or work done for which compensation is pending. In my desire to be honest and avoid the repercussions of deception, I declared this photo shoot even though I hadn’t yet received payment for it.
This is where the scaremongering began.
For the purposes of EI, I’m considered self-employed since my client didn’t take any income taxes out; as we all know, the government does this to your gross income when you work for an actual company. Thanks to this "change" in my employment status, I had to complete a form at a local Service Canada office with the details of my "employment." As ridiculous as it sounds in light of the small payment I received, the loss of EI benefits is a real possibility here. As I write this entry, I’m still waiting for the federal government’s decision on revoking these benefits. Depending on that decision, I may need to find a stable source of income - quickly.
In my belief, pitfalls like this make people hesitant to fully pursue their dreams. Needless to say, freelancing can be financially risky, especially when you don’t have a day job to fall back on. In this time of economic uncertainty, who wants the additional pressure of worrying where rent or mortgage money is coming from? Worse, if you have dependents, how do you balance their care with your own without running out of money? Thankfully, I don’t have to think about that last question right now, but this doesn’t mean that my financial alternatives are inexhaustible.
I conclude this entry with a thought expressed during one church sermon a few years ago. The worst thing about cemeteries may not be the dead people, but the dreams which died with those people.
(Originally completed during my digital cleanse on January 2, 2010 at 11:37 a.m.)