Just to be clear, I’m not writing this post to make fun of people who struggle with mental illness. It’s just that as I thought about being self-employed this morning, it struck me as funny that I have to give myself pep talks and 90-day reviews and a whole lot else.
I’m the CEO of a writing and editing microbusiness. This means that I’m a general contractor of words and phrases, I get to go out walking when I feel like it, and nobody can force me to take on a contract that I don’t want to do. (There are thousands of others like me – if you don’t like my style, you don’t have to hire me, either. It’s a two-way street.) There are no other employees.
So, I figure as the manager, the head of HR, the COO, and the Budget Maven. What does this mean?
- I have to ask myself, “Do you have time to do volunteer work without compromising your existing contracts?”
- I tell off my image in the mirror when I’m clearly procrastinating on a not-so-favourite job.
- If I lose a contract, one of my inner employees gets fired. Sadly, the HR Manager has a limited pool of talent to work from, so they’re inevitable re-hired. It’s a vicious cycle.
- Sometimes, my inner employees beg to be released from their work so they can play (like the demons asking Jesus to at least let them go play with the Gadarene swine). This makes both the Budget Maven and the COO mad, since they have to then fiddle with overhead and next year’s budget so that the employees can have days off. The nerve!
- When I go on holiday, nobody gets paid. So, I feel more energy, but the bills sit there glaring at the Budget Maven until she cries. (She’s very emo.)
- I hold conversations with myself, regularly. Here are a few of the edited versions. “You slacker, put down the Dresden Chronicles on your Kindle and get back to work!” “….but I FINISHED that project, aren’t I allowed a break?!” “Not a 2-hour break. Get moving, or get fired.” You know. That kind of thing.
- Sometimes, everyone suffers because the Sales Manager brightly promises to get something done by teatime (4 pm) and has forgotten to update the engineers. They riot when it’s discovered that (a) the computers need updates, (b) dinner has not been prepared, and (c) they’re already behind on a last-minute project. They throw desks, and shoot pencils at each other with an intent to wound. It’s not pretty.
This also means that any meeting cuts into productive time. No one pays me to go to dental appointments, schedule coffee with friends, or waste time trying to figure out the next latest, greatest social media platform. At this point, as a mid-level adaptor, I could care less about any offering that LinkedIn and Facebook come up with. If they just kept things the way that they are (working), that would be fine by me. (My inner interior decorator pretty much blows smoke rings at the ceiling and throws tantrums when someone else tries to move the sofa. It’s been there for 5 years, and no one has died. Leave well enough alone, you aesthetic-oriented maniacs.)
Right now, I decided to halt work on a project that brings in money to write this. Why? So that I can develop a following (just like everyone else), write books based on my blogposts, and eventually get to go to the beach WITHOUT having to think about work. Ever. Because the royalty payments come in monthly, whether you figured out Instagram or not.
At least, that’s the dream. Whenever I get a bit low about the incoming workload or lack thereof, the bright-eyed inner Visioneer goes around rallying everyone. “Remember the dream! Make drawings and put them on your fridge! We need to have energy!”
The hollow-eyed naysayer gives a rude gesture and goes back to picking holes in all of the plans, sending around copies to every co-worker but the Visioneer. She’s kind of a coward that way.
Forbes wrote a good article, called “The 13 Most Frustrating Coworker Types”. I have them all, and a few besides. How many do you have, rattling around in your skull?