Jack started his freeter life ever since he left graduate school. The single man in his late 20s is a programmer at an IT company, which is a relative stable income to him. But he doesn’t need to sit in the company.
Instead he can stay at home as long as he delivers his work in time. In addition, he also writes software reviews and online games handbooks for some websites and magazines, which earn him a good amount of money and which can also be done from home.
According to Jake, the great difference between freeters and non-freeters is that non-freeters work for a better job, while freeters work for a better life. Working at home saves him the time from commuting. And unlike those employed by a company and need to sit through eight hours a day at the office, as long as Jake finishes the work on time, his down time is more flexible.
And through his varied workload, Jake gets to know many industries and companies through socializing with people from different sectors. He says, “Although many people say freelancers don’t have a stable income, I believe as long as you can finish the work in time and it’s of good quality as well as have a good personal network, you can manage to maintain a stable customer base.”
Tips on how to become a freeter
First and foremost, before quitting your job, make sure you have two to three months’ worth of savings in your bank account to support you, because when you move into a new lifestyle, it always takes time for you to get started.
Secondly, freeters live on reputation. If you do your work well, people will give you more jobs and through word of mouth get recommended for work. But if you screw up one job, it may kill a string of potential jobs.
Socialization makes a good part of freeters’ lives. Working at home doesn’t mean not leaving your place. Go out and meet friends. Casual conversations may also give you some inspiration or more directly, job opportunities.
About the history of freeters
The word “freeter” was first used around 1987 or 1988 in Japan and is thought to be an amalgamation of the English word free, or perhaps freelance, and the German word arbeiter, or "worker".
A Japanese part-time job magazine started using the term. “Freeter” in Japan, refers to people between the ages of 15 and 34 who lack full-time employment or are unemployed. They do not start a career after high school or university, but instead usually live as at home with their parents and earn some money with low-skilled and low-paying jobs.
Unlike the negative images associated with Japanese freeters, ever since freeter was imported into China, it refers to those talented people who are pursuing a dream and opt for a freeter life voluntarily. According to them, being a freeter is a better existence than being employed.
Edited by: Alice Yang