I admit that “self-employed” can be a fancy way of saying “unemployed.” However, “unemployed” assumes a not-so-distant future of gainful earning with all it’s weary appendages like a crappy commute and a boss. While funemployment can be a relaxed, some-day, fuck it, I’m-takin’-a-breather-till-the-money-runs-out transitional moment in a career, self-employment is a decision that puts to rest the myth that there is a job out there that won’t cuisinart your soul into dust, French press it and drink it with unsweetened Almond milk. It ruins the idea of “weekends” and creates confusion around the notion of “vacation.” It is a state of anxiety that never ends.
We who have chosen this route have done so for several reasons:
- We value time over money. Jobs take not just time, they take your life. You can maybe find a way to earn money, but you’ll never be 25, 35, 45 (etc.) again. The self-employed opt to live today, if they can, anxiety and worry be damned.
- We would rather die than service The Man. Corporate America treats non-alpha men like service dogs and ALL women are secretaries. You can be a fancy, well-paid, secretary like Sherry Lansing, or you can be a low paid sexy secretary like Joan from Mad Men. You are still a secretary. You are an extension of Him. This is what kills our souls. At least mine.
- Corporate America doesn’t pay. Sure, some people make big salaries, but at great cost to their families, health and well-being. There really is no number that makes it OK to not exercise, see your kids, pursue creativity and live in the present moment rather than in some future retired bliss state.
If you have chosen this life, you have chosen an equal, but different kind of Hard. There is no one to blame or hate. No Boss. It’s just you and the Cosmos. There is a mystical energy to self-employment that would be magical if it weren’t laden with so much stress. Here are a few of its crazy rules:
- Workflow makes no sense. It’s true that in Corporate America, managers don’t dish out reasonable steady workloads, but neither do the forces of the universe. Jobs don’t trickle in one at a time. There are two states of work: nothing or an avalanche. There is nothing you can do to fix this.
- Your REAL job is finding work and negotiating. You thought your job was working? Making things? The only job you have is finding work and negotiating your rate. The work itself, that’s when you can relax.
Sidenote: I have the added “reason” to be self-employed in that I am also a writer/standup comic. I am not even sure they are legitimate pursuits. However, I think, ultimately, my desire for freedom exceeds any need for security.
Somehow it all works out. At least, so far. 🙂