I hate taking orders barked at me. Some people have even said that I am not a team player. But if team playing means kissing some behind somewhere, accounting for every staple pin I use and submitting my empty bic pen to get a replacement, yes, then you can say I’m not a team player. So much so that I decided not to play the sit-here-and-pretend-to-work-all-day game. It drove me up the wall (you should have seen me up that wall) I had had enough. I was going to take my now rapidly growing side-gig as my full time job. Looking back, I must have been feeling either very brave or had just rammed my head into a heavy object as I cannot believe I quit!
Out of sheer excitement of not having to follow anybody’s rule, and to prove that I was in control of my time, I decided to do whatever I wanted. The first two days were spent sleeping, only taking time to cook, feed my household, and back to bed. On the third day, I acquired my playmate Nikki, my black, sleek, laptop – I do love black. I have a black phone, I coat my toe-nails with black polish and my dream car shall come in black. This is when things became super fun!
In employment, it was difficult to keep up with my friends on-line, what with interruptions of phone calls, meetings and work. This time round, it was different. I could chat 5 friends, watch 2 movies on mute (1 on the TV set and one on the laptop), listen to music and snack away and nothing fell out of sync! The side-gig that had become my full-time job got forgotten. After all, I could come back to it whenever I wanted, right? I was on a roll. This Hawaii attitude continued for a week, until I received mail from a client wanting to know the status of a project, and how long I thought it would take to complete it. That right there was my splash of cold water. I had lost a week and now had only one week, to complete a two week project and hand it over, if I was to get any other projects in the future. I worked my brains out. Day and night. Bathroom breaks became a luxury. I was determined not to fail on this one, mainly because I was not going back to kiss the behind that I had so proudly refused to kiss earlier. It got completed, with a few minor changes here and there, and the client was happy.
A month of doing the telecommute made me realize a few things. Life as I knew it had changed. I was growing up. I had to unlearn/learn a few things:
Where’s My coffee?
I am generally a tea person. As the day wears on however, we all need some adrenaline boost, to keep us awake, long enough to look productive. I was used to picking up the phone and demanding my steaming hot cup of black coffee, no sugar, no cream to get to my desk in no more than 3 minutes. Now I had to make my own coffee and clean my own cup. It was hard in the beginning. I ignored the craving. After a few knocks of my head on the keyboard, I decided to drag myself to the kitchen and within 5 minutes, I had my coffee, just the way I like it.
My Work Area Is Dirty!
Clatter and dust drives me insane. I was used to yelling for someone to get my goddamn workspace cleaned, citing the workplace regulations that had been broken by expecting me to work under such inhumane conditions. This time, I had to ensure that I cleaned my workspace, before I settled to work. This felt like labour camp! Infact, I decided not to clean the space as yet! However, after working in close to rats infested area and not getting much done, I did clean up. It occurred to me that I needed to start scheduling things, otherwise I’d spend all day either cleaning, or working, or making coffee, and basically wasting time.
Carrying Work Home
I settled quite nicely after a few weeks. Everything was running like clockwork. Projects got churned out, cleaning got done, homework got inspected, food got cooked…. I was actually becoming the master of my own time! I even had time to get on-line and catch a quick chat with friends and my social network life was going great. I however noticed that I was working more hours than I would have had I been in employment. Even today, I find myself long past midnight, huddled on my computer, smashing away at projects, communicating with colleagues which I would not have even imagined doing while in employment. The sad bit is that I really enjoy myself! I suppose I cannot say that I will not carry my work home now…
Traffic Is a Bitch!
I loved using this line. I actually miss it. I remember at one point, I used to walk to work but since I never wanted to wake up too early to get there on time, I happily used this line. My colleagues however could not understand why my shoes looked like I had walked the desert while claiming I was stuck in traffic. It was a beautiful line to use. Wish I can use the line on myself…
I’m Feeling Ever So Not Well 😦
Yeah, like I’m going to call myself and tell myself I’m not going to report to work because I’m not feeling well. Calling in sick is a luxury that I am no longer afforded. Unfortunately, I have become so hopeless that even when I am bed ridden (yep! I too get taken ill), I will find myself trying to figure out a problem and working through it or having a chat with colleagues on proposals. So much for resting when I need to…
I Need A Break
We had annual leave. All 21 days of leave. Paid for by the employer. Nowadays, when I need a break, I go to the other room. Or take a walk. Or paint my toenails. What break would I be taking, if even when I decide to go on holiday I carry my laptop with me?
I have come to realize that being your own boss, doing your own thing, is not as sexy as it sounds. You need discipline. You have to make schedules. Stick to those schedules. Mine keeps evolving as days go by, but I can thankfully say that I am quite well settled. When you get the hang of it, everything becomes pleasant. Things fall in place. It is very harsh in the beginning, and you will feel like giving up. Don’t. It gets easier.