This my blog about jumping into the unknown. Not literally, you understand, but metaphorically, and in this case, career-wise. Or career-unwise. It’s all about my undying urge to break away from a lifetime of compliance, received caution, and the ingrained need for job stability. My jump, although not life-threatening, has a lot in common with the physical leap off the back of the cross-channel ferry into the darkness. It was born not so much out of careful planning as out of desperation. I may sink or swim, and my survival (in self-employment at least) is by no means certain. I may get a life-saving hand just when I need it, or I could be left to flounder in the depths.
Being renowned for starting things that I never finish, I can’t promise anything, but I am starting this blog today with a view to recording the thinking and experiences, the successes and failures, the joys and woes, as my jump into the unknown unfolds.
Sometimes I look up from my computer when I am working here at home and glance sideways, my attention diverted by a movement outside. Often, it’s one of the workers in the office opposite, standing outside, talking on a mobile phone, having a cigarette break.
On a bad day, I find myself envying them for a moment – envying the camaraderie of the office; the steady salary; the pension. Then I wake up to myself and realise that they are effectively in prison nine-to-five every day. Or at least, that’s how an office career job seemed to me whenever I was stuck in one. I was dead inside, marking time each month just paying my way, learning little in the way of new skills; getting little consolation during my weekends and evenings. It was as if someone else ruled the very core of my existence.
So after a few moments of empty envy, when I see these furtively smoking employees I remember how much I am learning, how I am moving forward with my business, albeit hesitantly and slowly – and most of all I remind myself how I am right now taking charge of my life and living it true-to-character, instead of acting out some badly cast role as a servant to some undeserving god.
As I write this I’m coming out of a couple of bad days during which I have felt that I have made little progress and taken a pessimistic view of what I have achieved in recent months and where I am taking it all.
I was trying to understand why I felt that way during these last couple of days so I can try to avoid it, because it is basically negativity that is getting in the way of my progress when it happens.
I have to say that for me a lot of the problem is the home working. Being alone for most of the day is not for me and never will be. I hate it with a passion. I’m never good alone – I need people; I love people. I knew when I embarked on this journey into self employment, when I jumped, that it would be like this for some time. What I didn’t realise is that occasionally even I would not be able to shake off the demons that sometimes creep up and surround you when you are alone. Worry about money. A lack of confidence in what you are doing. No longer knowing your place in the world. I have noticed that, when I am working alone at home, these demons tend, if you are not careful, to grow; to surround and envelop you, to paralyse you so that you cannot move forward. They torture your soul so that it is impossible to see any aspect of your fledgling business in a positive or optmistic light. They are the voices that say:
NO – I just typed in a load of negative stuff and then back-spaced over it because I don’t want you to read all that rubbish, which, at the end of the day, is the best way to describe all that negative speak from those pesky demons – it really is RUBBISH.
So, I now realise that sometimes when I work alone I become vulnerable to an attack from the demons, and that when it happens, it can blow all the worry out of proportion – now that I understand this, I am on my guard – ready with a counter-attack of POSITIVITY that will kill those demons dead!
Slowly, slowly I am losing a deep-seated feeling of guilt that has been with me during my first months of working for myself, not having a “job”.
I was brought up in a climate where having a “secure job” was the primary career aim for most people. It was ground into be throughout my childhood and early adulthood, and even though I am committed to my new life, the guilt was very prominent every single day.
If I went out during the “working day” – never mind that I had started work at the PC at 6:30am – I still felt guilty about taking “time off” when “normal” people were working. I wondered what people would think of me, seeing me out and about during the day in my casual clothes.
I know – it’s all so stupid – but the long-ingrained teaching that I ought to have a “proper job”, and that only layabouts hang around town in the day time in their casual clothes – it caused me such guilt which has only now started to diminish after all these months.
Now, the guilt is still there, but hardly at all. I KNOW that this is what I want and this is what I am going to do whatever the consequences, because it is just so ME. It’s a great feeling.