I feel like I must have written about this before.
It seems unlikely that I haven’t. I must have craved a bit of a chinwag about this pertinent issue at some some point during my time as Head Honcho of Noctiluna. Okay, let’s just assume that I have.
It doesn’t matter though, it’s an important enough subject to warrant another post, and it’s something that is always on my mind to some degree. Also, this is cheaper than therapy for me, so let’s do it.
If you run a small business, work for yourself, and are situated exactly where the buck stops, you have my commiserations… and congratulations. If you work from home, times that by ten.
It’s a funny old world, when you are your own boss. You can go from feeling empowered, inspired, and elated, to feeling mopey, unmotivated and misunderstood in a matter of hours, sometimes minutes. It may always be like this, so learning to ride those waves, and jump back on after a storm is important (Yup, a surfing analogy from me, the landlubber. I can do that, because I’m the boss – there’s an UP for you).
Here is my own (very) personal list of ups and downs:
UP: I have total creative freedom. My boss totally trusts my design instincts and let’s me explore them to their fullest.
DOWN: It gets lonely working by yourself. You start talking to yourself, and smiling at strangers on the street like a pyscho. Thank goodness for the summer camps for dragging me out of hermit-dom every summer.
UP: I can arrange my day how I like, so that I can flit between projects and work to a schedule that suits my temperament well. I even manage to work two jobs a year.
DOWN: I have to be a jack of all trades. I can’t avoid spreadsheets, inventory, marketing , or phone conversations, because I am the accountant, marketing manager, and receptionist all rolled into one. This is a tough one for creative types, who find it hard to snap into other roles. You are constantly being placed outside your comfort zone.
UP: I can be flexible. My boss understands when I have a sick kid, or need to attend a school performance (well my design boss does, the summer camp boss is a total meanie). During most non summer-camp work days, I can hit the gym, and pick my kids up from the bus stop if I want to. I have worked with a sick baby sleeping on my lap. She’s a good egg, my boss.
DOWN: People mistake my aforementioned flexibility for being free. I am constantly assumed to be available for last minute childcare, or a lengthy chat. No people, I actually have a schedule, and it’s a busy one. If I choose to spend an hour at the gym, I end up working evenings. Fairs and markets often happen on weekends, so my work week is an unusual one, but it is one nonetheless.
UP: No commute, no having to dress up fancy for work, a well stocked fridge.
DOWN: Home fatigue (it’s a real thing), feeling somewhat dishevelled next to the Booz-Allen moms at the bus stop, a well stocked fridge.
There are potentially hundreds more of those, but here’s the bottom line:
I love my job. I love the playlists that I play while I work. I can listen to Thomas Hardy novels while I screen print, and nobody complains. I can eat lunch at weird times, and get completely absorbed in my work for hours without interruption. Sure, I miss having coworkers sometimes, and wish I could bat ideas back and forth with someone.
I try and get around those things by meeting up with other designers and educators for creative chats, and I keep myself on a rich diet of books, learning, and exhibitions.
Maybe, I’ll work in a bustling studio at some point in the future. Who knows? Maybe I’ll finally stop harassing my poor husband with every little detail of my workday in the evenings.
Nah, probably not that last one.