Free-Lance Nation: Why Temping Is Permanent

To the uninitiated, the concept of free-lancing might evoke words like freedom and flexibility. But those in the trenches often employ a different F word. "I live in constant fear," says Alicia Nieva-Woodgate, a former public-relations executive in San Francisco, who had to kiss health insurance goodbye and these days is struggling just to pay the rent. For the past two years, this thirtysomething has been juggling as many as six free-lance projects at a time while taking on survival jobs like handing out Pepsi samples in Wal-Mart. "I'm barely scraping by," says Nieva-Woodgate, who commanded a six-figure salary during the...

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