Is working conventionally more ace than working unconventionally?
Today's digital world continues to encourage more ways of restructuring the way we work. Employment is no longer understood as a situation where an individual works from 9a.m.to 5p.m. but has transcended the confines of time where people work even at 3a.m. By design, the difference between the unconventional kind of employment and the 9 to 5 structured kind of employment, depends on the timeline and space within which work is done. It also, however extends to the kind of job and the kind of clients, customers or audiences one is dealing with. In my chat with Dero Muhiirwa, former architect turned full time artist and musician, there are certain jobs that excel in a 9 to 5 setting and those that just can’t work that way. So, what really is unconventional employment? As understood today, this is where the execution of the job does not have to be done at a physical office space or at a specific location for five days a week
But, the question remains, is unconventional employment better than the 9 to 5 job. Let’s see what my chat with Dero managed to articulate.
- Who are you?
I am a 30-year-old male creative. I do rap music. I’m also a digital artist. Art is something I have been doing since I was a child.
- What do you do for income?
Professionally, I call myself a digital communication designer - I do brand work and story telling through illustration and animation. Some of my sketches are here below.
What did you study in school?
I was at Uganda Martyrs University, aka Nkozi. I studied environmental design which is a foundation for architecture.
Were you in formal architectural employment? How was the working structure like and how is it different from what you do now?
I was employed in an architectural firm called Eleven-Fourteen studio as a junior architect for two months. The structure was 9 to 5. The difference to now is that I’m self employed and I have to organize myself and choose what I need to do. To be honest, though, I was not passionate about the work as a junior architect and I needed to be doing something I was passionate about which is art so I decided to leave the firm.
Is unconventional employment better? How and why?
I don’t think either is better than the other. I would, however, personally go for unconventional because then youre structure your work according to what works for you. I think the main issue for me is whether you like what you are doing.
Can unconventional working structures be adapted to formal employment structures and vice versa?
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen the employment world reviving what is unconventional and fit them into the conventional way of work, especially in regards to where we work, given a lot of conventional jobs now allow for remote working.
What positives and negatives can you cite about the 9 to 5 employment?
The conventional employment of 9 to 5 is nice to learn from because it puts you in a space where you have to deal with other people helping you grow people relation skills as well as team work and accountability. There is also more structure because you are programmed to know I have this much time to execute what I need to execute. Unlike in unconventional work where one has to manage their own time which is tricky for a lot of people. The disadvantage to conventional working is that it lacks flexibility. It can become robotic and yet you would need to have that space to adjust if needbe.
Is there advice you can share to those torn between the two?
I would advise you to experience both. If you get an opportunity to go for a conventional job, take it and learn from it. But also give yourself a timeline. You must also evaluate yourself because not everyone is attuned to unconventional employment, especially if you have a low risk tolerance. Nonetheless, I believe everyone should do both so they can make an informed decision on what works for them and what doesn’t
Do you like what you do? That is what it comes down to. As Dero noted, I believe that’s the first interrogation one has to make in deciding whether unconventional employment is better than 9 to 5. To make the conclusion then depends on you and whether you like what you are employed to do. That notwithstanding though, there is need to adapt the facets of either to one another. Unconventional work needs structure and conventional 9 to 5 work needs flexibility. The adaptation, I believe, should make for better employment and productivity in whichever field of work.