If There Were a Freelance Olympics...

Feb 7, 2014

by Katherine Hamill

Yes – elite athletes are very impressive. Can I do backflips on slippery surfaces while balancing on a pair of razor-thin metal blades? No, technically, I cannot.

But shouldn’t the rest of us get a chance to medal, without having to jump off of mountains or travel to unfriendly climes?

Lately, I’ve been thinking – there should be a Freelance Olympics. But what would the categories be? Here are my suggestions:

The Desperate Deadline Dash

Oh, you need that by Friday morning? No problem! Whoops - today is Thursday.

To compete in this event, freelancers must complete a week’s worth of work between 8 PM and 10 AM, while specially-trained Distracto-Cats take every opportunity to lie on their keyboards and bat key materials off of desks. First freelancer to get the project handed in gets gold; silver goes to the loudest weeper.

Taping ones’ eyes open is not only allowed, but encouraged.

The Pent-Up Frustration Primal Scream

Did Adobe crash AGAIN? Was a client’s feedback “Great. But now, do it differently.”? Did you get apply for a gig, only to find out they’re only looking for pro bono freelancers at the moment – though they promise you’ll get ‘lots of exposure’?

Win this event by being the last competitor to yell, jump up and down, throw cell phones, drink an entire bottle of merlot at 4 PM, or otherwise throw an adult tantrum. Gold medalist gets a free month of therapy and a punching bag.

The Napathon (short form)

You’ve been up until 3 AM getting that project done. What’s the point of being a freelancer if you can’t be flexible with your time? Go on, close your eyes for 15 minutes. Just 15 minutes. You deserve it.

Take the gold in this event by falling asleep in the most non-traditional environment. Nod off on the subway while being sat on, drift away during a long conference call, put your head down on an airport tarmac. Bonus points if you drool on your invoices.

The Fantasy Napathon (long form)

You’re so tired. So, so tired. You’ve been burning the candle at both ends, my friend. But when you’re done with this manuscript, you’re going to sleep for 3 days straight, and woe betide the poor sap that wakes you.

Fantasy Napathon is an endurance event. Win this one by sleeping so soundly and so long that your loved ones contact the authorities. Judges will test your brain’s response to objects balanced on your forehead, repeated slapping, and other sensory stimuli.

The Pricing Negotiation Sweat

Ah, the coy dance. You tried to feel out their budget; they asked you for your rates. You confidently sent them your standard pricing arrangement. And now….you wait.

Gold goes to the competitor who maintains dignity while sweathing though extensive meetings with multiple ornery, cheap mid-level managers. In July. After eating chicken vindaloo.

The Most Creative Non-Meal

This is a category based more on artistry than athleticism. You’re on the go, getting things done – or you’re scrounging through your fridge in the briefest of breaks. Who has time to cook? What constitutes a ‘meal’, really?

Can you count Doritos as lunch? ….Wait, what about if you eat the whole bag?

The winner of the Most Creative Non-Meal category is the last person to give up and order takeout.

The Team Event

In case you haven't noticed, we’re big believers in New Mutualism and giving back. So this gold goes out to anyone who takes time to mentor another freelancer, pass on skills, or support other independent workers. In our humble opinion, it’s the true top of the awards pyramid.

What Freelance Olympics category would you medal in – and what other ‘sports’ should we include? Leave ‘em in the comments!