Do you ever feel bipolar? Not in a clinical sense, but more in a “omg life is awesome” one minute to a “what the hell am I doing?” the next minute sense. I get that way a lot. Some days I feel absolutely euphoric about my work. And others I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing.
Sometimes I have a non-stop giddyness about being a freelance writer/community manager. There are so many things I absolutely love about it. But the second someone says, “You’re so lucky! I’m so jealous!” I get pissed. Don’t get me wrong, I do feel lucky. I know I’m lucky. I feel like the world is at my fingertips. I’m not stuck in an office and I can work from bed and wear pajamas all day. Life is good. But not exactly grand.
I guess I work for myself. But I also work for no fewer than 5 bosses. I don’t have to see them every day (or ever), but I do get constant e-mails, many of them thinking I work for them and only them and asking me to do things NOW. I work from 8 a.m.-11 p.m. most days, with some breaks here and there.
My schedule is flexible. I can go on walks, take lunch breaks, run errands whenever I please. I can go on vacation. But I can’t go on vacation and still get paid. I don’t get vacation time. I still have to ask for time off. And then I fear I’ll lose my job because of it.
Health insurance isn’t cheap. And I pay for it on my own. And I don’t take sick days because I don’t get them. I’m always looking for new work for fear I’ll be out a job and won’t be able to pay the bills.
Nothing is secure with my work. I realize no job is secure right now, but working for startups make everything even less so. When a simple e-mail can be sent saying, “thanks for your work, but we can no longer pay you anymore,” getting laid off is easy. Companies can shut down quickly. I know this from first-hand experience. Sometimes even my bosses have no notice. No severance, no unemployment, just a sorry and goodbye. Nothing is secure. And that’s scary.
But then, I’ve always craved security. It’s how I was brought up. It’s what I have in so many areas of my life. I’ve always done what’s comfortable; what’s safe. Ask anyone who knows me if I’m a risk-taker and they’ll laugh in your face. I don’t even go on roller coasters at amusement parks. Many of my friends have been in my life since I was 7. I keep my feet on the ground and my head is always level. Risks scare me. And the secure thing has always made me the happiest. Except when it comes to my career.
Maybe you’d argue a career isn’t exactly the thing to be taking risks on in the current economic climate. And you might be right. But it’s the only way I know to get where I want to be in life. I cannot wake up every day for the rest of my life knowing I could have done more; feeling trapped. No matter what happens I know I’ll be OK, I’ll make it out somehow. And some day I’ll look back and say thank God I took some risks. Isn’t that what life is all about?