Fast Company's Why Everybody's Going Freelance explores a key issue why the self-employed tend to be more satisfied with their work than traditional employees - autonomy. Key quote from the article:
Organizational psychologists are finding that self-expression has deep links to productivity ... It follows, then, that the autonomy of independence allows people to be more maximally self-expressive, and thus more maximally, sustainably engaged, and thus more successful over the long run.
We've found in our work researching the self-employed and independent workers (freelancers, contractors, etc.) that control and flexibility are key reasons people become self-employed and enjoy being self-employed.
Our research as part of the 2013 MBO Partners State of Independence study found:
"... those who create, manage and control their own work assignments, work place and schedules - "Job Makers" - reported very high levels of satisfaction (86% satisfied or highly satisfied) ... few (less than 5%) would prefer having a traditional and almost all plan to continue as independent workers."
In other words, independent workers with autonomy and control are highly satisfied and like their work.
In interviews people like this consistently tell us they are happy to trade off the benefits of a traditional job (predictable income, benefits, higher pay, etc.) to experience the autonomy and control independence provides
Those who feel they don't have control over their careers, work assignments, work place, or work schedules see independent work very differently:
"They are much less satisfied with independent work and almost half (49%) report being dissatisfied. Most (54%) would prefer having a traditional job and only about one third (35%) plan on continuing as an independent worker."
In interviews with this group - often temps, on-call workers and others with little job control or autonomy - we found they didn't get the major benefits of being self-employed and they were impacted in major ways by the disadvantages.
We've posted in the past about the two sides of independent work. A major factor in whether you are on the good side or bad side is whether or not you have autonomy and control.