Another point is that I can’t just go to work. I can only submit proposals when a contract is open.
So if you have a job, you go to work on Monday, work your eight plus lunch, and go home. Do that again, hopefully a reasonable number of times a week. Same for homework. You’ll get more homework.
If a contract RFP is open, I can go in and apply. But if one isn’t open, I can’t apply. The RFPs I’m looking at are on a finite number of sources, so there’s only a moderate amount of hunting possible before I’m endlessly refreshing a browser tab. Going back to that homework analogy, it’s not like I have a steady backlog of RFPs assigned. I chase one and then I wait. They’re bespoke, so there’s limited prep without a RFP to work.
That’s the job. I can backfill with grad school and writing, but the landlord needs to get paid. It’s just very uncertain in a way normal employment isn’t.