The Sims’ freelance writing career reminds me of my loneliest, self-doubting days


The first paycheck Natt received after her first freelance writing assignment, she spent on mac and cheese.

I’m referring to her in third person because the Natt in question isn’t necessarily me, but a Sim version that lives in the town of Newcrest. But it isn’t inaccurate, either. I’m pretty sure me in real life spent my first adult paycheck on a round of drinks.

This week, Electronic Arts released an update for The Sims 4 that now allows your characters to choose freelancing as a career path, with the option to write, program, or create art for a living. As someone who started her career out as a freelancer, I had to know how deep the simulation cuts. Jobless after graduation, there were many days when I would send out pitches into the void, hoping that maybe one day someone would like them just enough to pay me. I spent lunch times snacking on take-out Thai food while keeping track of all the articles I had written to invoice my employer. Then having to follow up with awkward emails to see whether a paycheck had been cut or when it was coming.

Some of that discomfort persists in The