Do you know why you are what you are? It's actually quite a simple question, so let me rephrase it. Do you know what is the origin of words freelance and freelancer? I have to be honest about this one. I have been a freelancer for a few years, and I didn't know what the word itself really means. I'm not ashamed to admit it. So, here's a chance to learn something new and interesting.
Hi Ho, It All Started With Princ Invanhoe
Here's the thing with the term freelance. We think that "free" says it all, don't we? The catch is with the second part of the word - the lance. This is where my real research work has begun. It turned out that the first "freelancers" were mercenaries. The first "clients" of the freelance medieval world were the English lords who would hire the armies of "free lances" to finish "projects" for them. In other words, our medieval colleagues were rent-a-spearmen. To tell you the truth this isn't the glorious story I had on my mind to share with my friends and family about my current occupation. But, it is what it is. At least I know what it means to be a freelancer, literally. In a way, I feel a relief. I know for sure that it has never been easy to be and work as a freelancer.
Ronin - A Freelancer Made in Japan
Guess what, the English feudal lords aren't the only ones in need for skillful spearmen. Medieval Japan also had its version of freelancers called - Ronins. Long story short, a Ronin is a masterless samurai. Now, I personally prefer the word samurai over a mercenary. It's nobler to say at least. If you want to learn more about Ronins, then don't listen what Tom Cruise has to say about it. "The Last Samurai" is a great movie, but it has nothing to do with the Ronins. Keanu Reeves did a much better job in "47 Ronin," which is more historically accurate.
Keyboard Samurai vs. Keyboard Mercenary
There's nothing free in freelancing except the word itself. There's no need to make freelance things sound and look better than they already are. It's all about the Benjamins my brothers and sisters freelancers. Yet, I want to believe that our work is a little bit more than just semantics. I choose to be a digital samurai. I take the money. I don't do my work for free, but I don't forget why I'm here. I'm FREE to choose whether or not I'm going to work today. I'm also FREE to choose my clients, projects, and prices. At the end of the day, I'm FREE to decide not to be a freelancer any longer.
My humble opinion is that Keany Reeves delivered the performance of his life in "47 Ronin." But, let's face it. He will always be remembered as Neo The Matrix. He was also freelancing. Remember? Neo taught an invaluable lesson to all freelancers. Just like Neo, we shouldn't believe in fate. Why? Because we shouldn't like or accept the idea of not being in control of our lives. That's why. And, that's it freelance folks. The money doesn't grow on trees. There's no rest for the wicked. So, up you go, all of you samurais and mercenaries of our brave new digital world!