By the way this is nothing to do with Scotland, or Dependence Day as I may call this date forthwith.
Attitudes to improvisation are interesting in their variety. Some people just want to know the key and go from there, or even prefer to do it all by ear. Some want thorough and accurate chord symbols (often me, but not exclusively). Some, including my father, want to be able to see the tune they’re improvising on much more than getting involved in harmonic structures. This is about more than just jazz vs folk vs classical genres – it’s down also to how much people want rules set out for them (and rules make improvisation and composition much easier, they’re not simply restrictions on your imagination but also shortcuts) and how much they want free rein.
It’s rather similar with work. A lot of more hands-on no-desk jobs involve very little time management at all. Your hours are fixed, when you turn up you’re told what to do, your breaks are at set times; you do your job but with very little say in (or pressure to plan well!) the way you go about it. My desk job requires somewhat more thinking about work as opposed to doing work: I can choose preferred working hours provided they add up to a 35-hour week (or now that I’m part time, 14); work will come my way with more or less notice but it is up to me to work out how to allocate time to things so that they all get done by their respective deadlines. And there aren’t in effect any patterns so everything needs planning from the start rather than just slotting in a template. Since the reduction in hours, I’m actually responsible for a lot more work than I can do myself, so I also have to decide whether I’m going to do something, send it to a freelancer or split it; and then try and make the arrangements continue to work if schedules slip or are altered!
Finally, of course, as a freelancer you pretty much have to decide (not that you have full control by any means, especially not at first) what your work is going to be as well as how to do it. How much practice am I going to do? On what instrument, what material, what skills? Which adverts do I answer, what promo projects do I plan and pursue, what groups do I gamble on as plausible money-makers, etc.? Only then can more reactive stuff (learning repertoire for a group or a one-off gig, planning travel, processing and recording expenses and income) take place based on upcoming commitments and plans. And deadlines are self-imposed or at least self-chosen (where opting into others’).
The irony is that freedom, and particularly freedom of time, can lead to feeling massively overburdened and rushed because there’s rarely a really good reason to put something off – easy enough to prioritise something sooner or more demanding over something else, harder to say I’ll definitely leave that alone till this point.
I don’t know much first-hand about power, but I do know increasing freedom brings increasingly responsibility – and, all too probably, stress.