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The Future Is Freelancing, But Is That a Good Thing?

Forty percent of US workers will be freelance, contract, or self-employed by the year 2020, according to a 2010 study by Intuit. But, as Jezebel's Laura Beck points out, that's not necessarily great news. Here's why.

"First, freelance and contract work usually means no benefits -- no matter how much you're working. No healthcare, dental care, and no 401K. While your peers are saving for retirement, you can't afford to replace all the teeth you lost due to your Red Vines and Dr. Pepper addiction," writes Beck.

She also points out that there's no job security, and that the stress associated with hustling for assignments (or, as any freelancer will tell you, pay for those assignments) is stressful. Some contract workers wind up with the worst of both worlds: they have to go into the office, so they miss out on eating candy and working in their pajamas, but they still don't get the benefits of full-time employees.

Plus, they're sometimes considered to be second-class citizens at work. Beck tells one story about a company she contracted for that gave different-colored badges to full-time and contract workers, inadvertently setting up a sort of blue-eyed/brown-eyed experiment among its workforce.

The bottom line is that a workforce full of freelancers will be a wonderful thing -- if those workers choose that voluntarily, and not because companies are getting away with forcing them to take unbenefited positions for lack of an alternative.

Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear from you! Is freelancing the wave of the future? Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter, using the hashtag #MakeItHappen.

More from PayScale

3 Tips to Stand Out in a World of Freelancing and Temporary Jobs

Should a 21-Hour Workweek Be the New US Standard?

The Best Work-Life Apps for Freelancers [infographic]


(Photo Credit: Victor1558/Flickr)

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