My work experience is a little of both types. I've done freelance work and had my own business, but I've also done "copy-machine" type work. The job I have right now is a combination of both. I got the job as a freelance gig, but over three years it grew from occasional to part-time, and I've been full-time for three years. I enjoy my job. The hours are long but the pay is obscenely high. Because this job was essentially created for me, there's really no equivalent position at another firm that I could apply for - no job shopping for me. I would have to change (or re-focus) my career if I were to leave here.
But as for day-to-day tasks, I'm a copy machine. I take in a job order, process it, upload it, then send it on its way. I do get a variety of projects, so I'm not doing the same thing all the time. I occasionally get challenged enough to get frustrated - and when I'm frustrated it means that I've reached my limitations and I'm trying to push past them. I enjoy this job. I enjoy my work. I've been working with the same people for six years and have some great office buddies, I like the atmosphere and the boss is an inspiration, and did I mention that I'm paid a staggering amount of money? I also have a certain share of PITA regulations, hoops, checklists, processes and procedures that I have to go through on a daily basis. I hate this part of the job. I call it my PITA to Paycheck ratio. When the job becomes more of a pain than the paycheck is worth, I will go find another job.
If I left this job, I have several options: 1. Open a service bureau for photo & graphic arts work. 1a. Go to work for someone else's service bureau. 2. Go back to being "Gnash Images" and whoring my photography/photoshop/video/web design skills on my own. 3. Take a whole different direction, like teaching same mad skilz at one of the myriad technical schools or jr. colleges around town. 4. Take a completely different direction and going into something where I have no experience, and starting from scratch.
Ultimately, for me, job satisfaction wins out. Although financial incentives certainly do carry weight, I would be much more likely to take an easy, fun, stress-free job that pays schitt-fifty an hour over a high-stress, high-pressure position with a patronizing boss and people I don't like to be around that paid $300K a year.
Steal what works, fix what's broke, fake the rest