Well, it’s my first Monday being self-employed - Yay! I’m pretty excited, it feels like it’s a weekend. I wanted to do this post to go over what I’m feeling and what I’m going through.
If you’ve seen some of my previous tweets and blog posts about my journey to be self-employed, I talked about a lot of things but you never actually live it until you get to your first Monday.
Your first scheduled day after you’ve been working a full-time job for most of your career and you go into your routine, you take a shower, you brush your teeth, you get ready. In my case, take my daughter to school and immediately go downstairs to my home office and get to work on my job. Now I don’t have to do that, it’s kind of a surreal feeling.
I’m still in that same kind of routine of doing the job thing. The first thing I thought of this morning was, “what’s going on at the company”? You have to tell yourself, “well, you don’t have to worry about that.”
It’s a lot less stressful because you don’t have to worry about whatever happens at the office. Frankly, I don’t really care anymore because it’s not my responsibility and it feels like this huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders to some extent.
I’ve been balancing side business stuff and a full-time job forever. There was a year where I was independent but I still had 40 hours a week for this company that I needed to fulfill. So, this is the first time that I’ve actually felt like I don’t have to do this stuff.
Technically I could go the whole week and not do anything at all and nobody would say a word. It would be completely fine, very surreal. You’ve had this habit for 20 years and then all of a sudden you don’t, it’s not scary by any means. It may be a little bit scary for some people, but at least right now I feel completely free.
I feel free to do whatever I want to do and the great thing is, my idea factory in my head is constantly going. As of today, I’ve already written down like five different ideas of things I want to do.
I’m finally able to get the time to focus on what I want to do and see where some of these ideas go, and really just see what I’m capable of.
I honestly think my entire career has been pretty successful. I love what I do in IT and I love automation and getting into DevOps. But, I honestly felt like, without having to be constrained in the job, I’ve always felt like I was somehow held back in the success I wanted to have in my career and my life. I guess that’s why personally I don’t feel any fear whatsoever.
I know what I’m capable of, what I want to do. I know I’ve got way more ideas than I have time to do, and I know I have the motivation to do them, and it’s really exciting.
I’m pragmatic, I’m not going to say it’s all going to be ups and no downs. There’s going to be times where I’m going to fail but I’m okay with that because I get to fail on my own terms.
One thing my wife told me yesterday, which was very interesting, but the way my mentality is, she said, “I’ve been noticing, whenever we become comfortable with our family finances, we have good insurance, all of a sudden you want to turn it on its head.” She was kind of right.
It seems every time I want to make a big change in my life, like this one, is when I start to get comfortable. I’m the type of person that if I start to get comfortable, I could sit back and do nothing if I wanted to and still get paid the same. I don’t want to do it anymore.
I have to have a challenge, I have to feel fulfilled. That’s part of me, that’s part of who I am. Whenever I get comfortable in whatever, I start to feel like this is getting boring, this is just a waste of time. It’s taken a long time for me to realize that it’s not about the money whatsoever, it’s about who I am and how I think. It’s kind of a deep subject because I think it’s true. If I’m making a million dollars a year and there’s no sense of challenge, there’s nothing else to learn, I could sit back and do whatever I want and make a million dollars a year, I wouldn’t do it.
You have to have some sort of fulfillment. You have to be challenged in life to continually keep getting better even if you’re making so much money. If you’re happy that’s great, keep doing it. But in my case, I have to be kind of out on the edge usually. I have to feel like the work I’m doing it directly related to the compensation that it gets, the fulfillment that I get.
Success Equals Payment
I was making about a hundred and forty-seven thousand dollars a year and I get no overtime. In December I worked for 300 hours, it was crazy. The month afterward, the company had a shareholders meeting and we found out the project was not immediately profitable.
It was one of those projects that the company deemed as profitable but not immediately and shareholders want a profit ASAP. So, the company scrapped the whole project and decided to lay off ten percent of the workforce. That was one of the catalysts that reminded me we’re all dispensable; I didn’t get laid off, fortunately, but we’re all dispersible.
Your outcome is not tied specifically to the work that you do. In that case, I worked 300 hours, I worked a ton and I still got paid the same, very well, but then the company decided to scrap the project.
It was frustrating because I worked so much on this project and it was still there. It felt like a failure to me because I was able to still maintain that level of compensation and the whole project is gone. It’s not literally a fairness thing, I don’t know what it is. I feel that way.
I told my boss I would have rather my compensation be tied to the success of the program whether if it succeeds or fails. If it succeeds, I would get astronomically more money perhaps, if it fails I would get nothing. I would prefer that always over the fact that I could skate by and work whenever I want and make the project this mediocre success.
My fulfillment comes from work directly tied to my success. It’s taken me a long to figure that out, but I really think that success or failure, pass or fail, the work has to be directly related to the success.
I think this journey, this self-employment journey, this entrepreneurial journey that I’m on now is by far away to be the best part of my life. I think that I’m going to be finally happy and I want to be able to achieve what I want to achieve.
This CarTalks post was going to be about my reflection and what it feels like for my first Monday, maybe it gave you a few points to think about.
If you’re thinking about quitting your job or if you’re working for yourself already, maybe you can give me some pointers but all you veterans out there that have been self-employed forever, by all means, I would love to have any kind of feedback and advice that you may want to give me from an entrepreneurial noob like myself.