It’s fitting, in my mind, that a job requiring one to work mostly from home, seek out a variety of clients, and write for them – blogs, product descriptions, articles, ebooks, other content – should have the word “free” in its title. Even if will probably amount to a serious decrease in income, I can’t think of anything more freeing than working as a freelancer.
I have worked a lot of different jobs in the decade or so I’ve been a contributing taxpayer. I flipped burgers at a fast food joint, I mowed lawns at a golf course, I ran the entrance gate at a campground, I filed and typed and greeted as a receptionist, I made copies and pressed “Print” a lot at a print shop.
Every time I start a new job, I think: Maybe this will be the one I don’t dread going to in the morning. (Ok, not every time. I never thought that about the burger joint, even at 17.) But it never is – except maybe the campground, but that was just a summer gig.
I’m not complaining, exactly. It’s just taken me longer than I would have liked to figure out what I want to do with my life. I was going to be a doctor, a psychologist, an interior designer, an art historian, a reporter. All these things seemed like great plans initially, until I discovered I don’t love doing any of them.
Trust me, I have wished too many times to count that love didn’t have to factor into it. Why can’t I be content working a job I just like, something where I make good money, and save the things I love for after 5 and on the weekends? And I’ve tried. I’ve tried to trick my mind into thinking it was happy, or at least satisfied. But my mind is too astute for its own good.
When I’m being honest, I guess I’ve always known. Writing is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do that didn’t change with the season or my latest favourite university class. I’ve been writing since I was too young to know how – using wavy lines in little notebooks to “read” stories to my parents. I did finally follow that passion to a journalism degree, but even that wasn’t quite right.
And then I got a job as a writer.
It should have been history. It should have been the perfect working environment and amazing stimulation for my extracurricular writing activities.
Except it wasn’t. Oh sure, sometimes I get to research and write about really cool stuff like art movements in history, or tips for pricing your artwork – studies that reawakened the passion for art that led me to get my art history degree in the first place.
But there are problems with this job, too.
- First of all, I have to set an alarm. I don’t need more than 7 hours of sleep, but waking up to an alarm seems to sap me of all my energy straight off. I’d rather wake up at my own pace, and then work later accordingly.
- Secondly, I have to go to an office. I know, this is a picky, whiny one, but I honestly don’t even remotely enjoy the communal working space environment. Give me a hermit hole in the mountains any day (except when I need a hit of Starbucks or to browse through Value Village).
- Third(ly?), I have to sit at my awkward-height desk in my badly lit room, in my non-ergonomic chair and work for eight hours straight (minus two fifteen minute breaks), or risk being scolded by a hovering superior.I’m not lazy, and I’m a really hard worker. But I’m one of those people who needs to distract myself with other things in between a larger task. It’s just the way I work. And good luck finding an office working environment that allows that!
Have I made my point? I feel like I’ve made my point.
Suffice to say, for now, that getting out of the office and in to working for myself is primed to be one of the best experiences of my life. And it’s finally – actually – happening.
Tune in next time for Part II: How This Happened.