I applied for a job when I was feeling like my professional life was slowly moving nowhere. I kept questioning my enoughness. I think we’ve all done it, but I was feeling it so much that I felt it necessary to apply for a job. I wrote the perfect cover letter, polished my resume, and then I checked my email and phone relentlessly. I drove myself nuts, and I told nobody I had even applied. Eventually, I told my husband, but not until I had given up on getting it. Then my business faced some changes. The kind of changes that excite you–re-invigorate you. So I went with it. I began to feel excited about my work again. I dusted the cobwebs off the benefits of self-employment that I had allowed to settle in my wallow. I made plans. I contacted clients and announced my reappearance. And then, 61 days after applying, I got an interview.
Receiving that call filled me with equal parts hope and dread. Equal parts enthusiasm and anger, why did it take them so long during a time when 'everyone is hiring'? I will spoil the ending for you now and tell you I didn’t get the job. And my lack of tears and disappointment stand as proof–the rejection was a reminder of the good thing I have. Being self-employed is a gift that comes with a lot of responsibilities–like a puppy. You take photos of it, you love it, but secretly while cleaning up the third accident it had that day, you’re not sure why you love it so much.
For the self-employed, there are moments when you can’t deny what others imply when they say things like, “but you get to be your own boss, that must be great.” Those moments are followed by the stress that comes with bringing in enough business to pay not only your bills at home but your bills at work as well, not to mention your employees. And then there are moments when you look at your state-employed friend–their 401K, their excellent health insurance, and their paid vacation–and you drool a little.
In the hours leading up to my job interview, I made lists of reasons to take it, and reasons not to. My mom even advised against it (she too is self-employed). “I just don’t think the lack of flexibility will work for you. I think you’d hate it.”
I would have 2.4 weeks of paid vacation per year. But last year I took 8 full weeks off of work, not including days here and there–long weekends, doctor appointments, etc.
I would have to work 8-5, Monday through Friday. Currently, I work 9-5ish, Monday through Thursday, a shorter day on Friday, and take several hours off during those hours for appointments.
I would have paid health insurance. The good kind. Currently, I pay $860 a month out of pocket for mediocre insurance.
I would have a boss. I’m sure I could handle it…
I would get to write. Yes, but not creatively. Not freely. So here I write, on this blog.
At the end of the day, the lists came out pretty even, but the responsible human in me felt like taking the job would be better for my future. But, as I mentioned, I didn’t get the job. Oh well. I immediately jumped back into restoring the clientele that I made a mess of the last 3 years. I’ve learned to face acceptance of the directions I have taken in my career and business over these past years. My job allowed for flexibility through my life circumstances. During a time when coaching was hard–really seeing people in general–I was able to switch gears and take care of myself. I’ve been able to be there for my family (this includes my ex-husband whom I call my friend, not my ex-husband) when they need me the most. And now that I feel restored, I am able to open back up for my clients again.
Self-employment isn’t that bad. It’s great actually. No matter the job, there will be moments of discomfort. You know that saying, choose your hard? I think maybe, I needed that reminder when I applied for that job.