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No need to get your ass out of the kitchen: new jobs are waiting

Although Vietnam is developing pretty rapidly, the role of the most Vietnamese women is still behind their husband’s shadow due to the Confucianism that many families are still following. The situation becomes more difficult when a wife has their first baby and it requires her to stay at home and take care of her child. However, lots of wives still want to get back to work and when everything is almost impossible, working at home becomes their best choice.

Image

   Freelance (adapted from Wink (2011))

Freelance is the answer. They can choose which projects they like, work at any time or any place they want and most importantly, it can help to balance between  their work and their family.

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Vuong An Phuong Thao with her son and me

Fortunately, I met my interviewee, Mrs. Vuong An Phuong Thao, who is a successful mother and represents as a typical modern woman. She has more than 8 years working in different positions from a senior copywriter to creative director in different communication agencies and a real estate company such as Ogilvy, JWT, BBDO and Square Meter. After her child was born, getting back to work is not easy when she had to take care for her son. Becoming a freelancer is her best decision because it is not only good for her, her husband and son, but it can also satisfy her difficult mother-in-law. Based on her wonderful experience and strong networking, Thao marked her first success in founding her own communication agency with her husband called Vo Vuong, where she could work and introduce or get help from her friends as freelancers. Talking about this, Thao said freelance is not what she focused at the beginning because she loves her job but her son means the world to her, so she’d rather work less to have more time for her son. Personally, I think future mothers should consider carefully about this job, because it might be more flexible but the payment might not be much and unstable, especially their personal branding is not at the same level with their networking. Usually, the payment for a project in freelancing cannot be negotiate, especially if we do not have the relationship with our clients.

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Personal Branding (Adapted from Stanley (2010))

On the other hand, Thao believes personal attachment is really necessary but not everyone can know how to build and maintain this relationship. There are a lot of freelancers or client just try to maximize their profits or they think they just do one-time relationship job (Fisher & Ury 1983). Their short-sight vision is the biggest mistake in freelancing because after finishing a project, freelancers can be rated from their clients. If they maintain their relationship well, they can also get a higher rating and another offer from previous clients. According to her, higher position does not mean people can make a good relationship. A good relationship is from the first impression such as appearance or outfits and it requires a good interpersonal skills as well as keeping this relationship alive. For example, she told me about Nguyen Ngoc Thuy, one of the top PR practitioner in Vietnam, he often yells at his clients but his clients still want him because he has good experience, good relationship with celebrities and maybe because he is good looking. However, normal PR practitioners cannot do that but instead of yelling, they have to keep their clients to be calm and satisfy or negotiate what their clients need. Those pressure when working in an agency is the motivation to increase productivity even though they have to work overtime and workplace might become their second home. Those challenges and pressure are also the reasons that make Thao want to work as a freelancer. Furthermore, she believes that verbal agreement cannot replace a contract but it is really important to help to reach a contract. Because freelance is a job with contract based on personal branding and personal attachments and when Thao and her client are too close, so the disadvantages is too hard to deal with her friends. For example, the negotiation dance in this case must be very skillful because it is hard to deal about the timeline and the budget. On the other hand, the advantages of personal relationship can make both sides more open to share and discuss about their project and when pitching to the client is easier to be accepted. In other words, it means that people should bring their clients into the process early and it will help a lot in their work (Solomon 2008).Image

 Personal relationship (Adapted from Nad (2011))

To sum up, Thao brings the role of woman into a new level who is not only standing in the kitchen. Freelance is the best choice in balancing not only the role between husband and wife but also between work and family. Freelance is a good choice for people without high education such as they are talented in painting or designing. However, freelancers’ income is changeable, sometimes it can be a lot but sometimes they might not have any offers and personal branding is really important because employers are looking for more reliable freelancers with good recommendations and great experience. That is the reason why personal attachments and long-term relationship is highlighted. Most importantly, freelancers can work at any place, any time even when they are on a vacation. Moreover, Beverland et al. (2007) believed that proactivity is important factor in maintaining relationship with clients but in freelancing, it is not recommended by Thao and I agree with her but it can be an option if freelancers want to impress and show their friendliness to their client for the first time. Finally, verbal agreement is the first step to reach a contract and it is built on trust and the long-term relationship (Morgan & Hunt 1994). Everything is just coming back to what I learn at the client management course even though some of the theories are not always suitable in practical situations.

Words count: 1,015

Written by DINH HOANG QUAN s3394172

Reference:

Beverland, M., Farrelly, F. & Woodhatch, Z. 2007, “Exploring the Dimensions of Proactivity within Advertising Agency-Client Relationships”, Journal of Advertising, vol. 36, no. 4, pp. 49-60.

Fisher, R & Ury, W 1999, Getting to yes : negotiating an agreement without giving in, 2nd edn, Random House, London.

Gulenko, DA 2013, ‘FIRST FREELANCERS’S STEP’, National Mining University, <http://ir.nmu.org.ua/handle/123456789/2395&gt;

Morgan RM & Hunt SD 1994, “The Commitment-Trust Theory of Relationship Marketing”, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 58, No. 3, pp. 20-38.

Nad 2011, ‘Simple Ways To Become A Successful Freelancer’, Image, December 29, WordPress, viewed on 05 September 2013, <http://freelancecrunch.com/simple-ways-to-become-a-successful-freelancer/>

Solomon, R 2008, The art of client service, Kaplan, New York.

Stanley AL 2010, ‘What Is A Personal Brand?’, Image, January 16, viewed on 05 September 2013, <http://www.andrewlstanley.com/what-is-a-personal-brand/>

Wink C 2011, ‘How to be a freelance journalist: real advice from another young, unknown journalist on freelancing’, January 10, viewed on 05 September 2013, <http://christopherwink.com/2011/01/10/how-to-be-a-freelance-journalist/>

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One thought on “No need to get your ass out of the kitchen: new jobs are waiting

  1. -Need to describe what kind of ‘freelance’ job you are referring to… is it just focused on creative freelancing (writing, account exec, events management)? Or does it also discuss opening your own business? Make this clear right away.

    -The randomness of sub-topics especially in the last part do not really connect with the topics previously preceding it (example: characteristics, income, verbal agreements, etc.). Perhaps try separating them into new paragraphs, or adding section headers/ titles.

    -Images (1,3,4) could be more consistent in ‘look and feel’. Cute proof of life photo with kid, matches well with the interview topic.

    -“…due to the Confucianism that many families are still following.” Need to explain this cultural context better, not just simply stating it as a fact. Not everyone reading the blog may know it the way you see it as a Vietnamese man.

    -Need to ” ” her words or use italics. Grammar needs a few tweaks here and there. Remember she is telling her story (past tense).

    -“On the other hand, Thao believes personal attachment is really necessary but not everyone can know how to build and maintain this relationship. There are a lot of freelancers or client just try to maximize their profits or they think they just do one-time relationship job (Fisher & Ury 1983).” Ok, so this paragraph is confusing. Which idea is Thao’s and which is from the academic reference? You and other classmates seem to fall into this mistake quite often. Use linking/ comparative phrases to connect the two points.

    -Overall, very interesting topic, but could have played more on the concept. You didn’t really describe what life in the ‘kitchen’ was like for Thao, and that mother-in-law angle could have been expanded for added creative hook. Example, in the comms industry who can be seen as this character?

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