Monday, October 27, 2008
There's no such thing as 'the weekend'
|The other Sunday, I received an e-mail from a potential client about some text he wants to work on together. I'd planned – if you could call it planning – to do nothing that day (except the crossword puzzle). Not that I didn't have anything to do – I'd just decided not to do any of it. And then I got the e-mail.
I spent most of my life as an employee in the kinds of jobs done at other people's offices. I never took work home. So my Fridays were lightened by the anticipation of Saturday, and Saturday arrived with that “no-responsibilities” sense of freedom. The week had a structure – a start, a peak, a winding down, and then a two-day break from everything associated with the job – until Sunday night, when it was time for that back-to-reality feeling to descend. Anybody out there know what I mean?
Then I went into business for myself.
I discovered that there is no such thing as a weekend. There is no such thing as quitting time. And I discovered something else. While I used to wake up in the morning resigned to going to work, not discontent but not inspired either, now I wake up eager to see what the day will bring. That's true on Saturday and Sunday, too. And I feel more free, not less so, although I may find myself working seven out of seven days. Since much of my time is spent writing text for my clients, I have incredible flexibility – much more than business owners who don't work at home and have customers who expect to be able to walk in the door during specific hours. I can start at 9 in the morning and stop to eat breakfast at 10. I've been known to get out of bed at 3 a.m. to write down a good idea that will otherwise just be mush the next day, if I can remember it at all. I can watch “Grey's Anatomy,” find out whether Meredith and McDreamy are on again or off again, and then go check my e-mails. I can do whatever I want. And that includes scheduling a totally work-free morning if I have no deadlines, taking a vacation without asking permission, and doing my grocery shopping at 2 o’clock on a Wednesday afternoon. I like that.
It does require some adjustment – a real change in perspective and in the deeply ingrained habits of marking time that began with the first day of kindergarten. And, oh my, that was a really long time ago, so I've been very well trained in that kind of schedule. At the beginning, when I was first on my own, I felt a bit lost – but no more. I have embraced the chaos.
I'm not offering advice to anyone, just sharing my experience. I'm grateful for the ability to adapt. I'm grateful I have found new types of freedom. I'm glad I like the way it's working out.