Fiber & Dye

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The 5 double-sided truths about leaving a "real" job

HonestlyLisa AiharaComment

It's now been over 6 months since I left my cushy, corporate, 9-5 (though more like 9-9) job. It was demanding but rewarding, and infuriating but fulfilling. Since then my bank account hasn't seen a direct deposit in weeks, and the other day, for the first time, I had to tap into the family checking account to pay off my personal credit card (no worries, I keep my business accounts separate as not to muddy it). Ouch. 

My co-worker sent an article to me about the lessons learned going full-hustle, and while I was yelling "YAP" and "PREACH" I also realized that all of these were sort of double-sided to me, like most things are. For every AMAZING thing about going from side-hustle to full-hustle, there's an equally debilitating thing about it. 

So in true captain hindsight fashion, here are my honest, 5 double-sided truths about leaving a "real" job--and all the insecurities that come with it.


So. Much. Time. It's Awesome!

BUT: Shit still don't get done

First, the good stuff. The time that I gained is gangbusters. From the moment I wake up the world is my oyster, and I could fill it with whatever I want. And while I still have an endless to-do list (in freelance, it seems all projects happen at the same time... hurry up and wait, says the universe) but it feels like an opportunity vs. a chore. So there's that.

But the reality of it is, all the things that I thought I was now going to have time for (cooking for the hubs, working out all the time, keeping the house clean) STILL doesn't get done. Because, surprise surprise, you never have time for shit you don't want to do. So it doesn't get done.

So yeah, while I have more time to fill, it doesn't mean then that I filled it will all productive things. It's still a process of having to MAKE time, full-time job or not.


Titles never reflected the ACTUAL job, and it was horrible

BUT: "Entrepreneur" is an overwhelming title

The shitty truth about most corporate jobs is that your title is always less than your actual workload. Because no, there is no good title for "I-do-mostly-online-marketing-but-also-partnership-and-sometimes-budgets-and-help-with-miscellaneous-tasks." So more often than not, you struggle with this under-titling whether it's rank or range of work. 

You know what's a worse title though? Entrepreneur.

Depending on who I see and what mood I'm in, when folks ask me what I do I give one of three answers. I'm doing freelance design. I have my own business. And then the worst one, I'm unemployed.

I've felt undervalued by my title, but I've never felt like I was being crushed, and like I could never live up to it as I do when I try to say that I'm an entrepreneur. But the old cliché goes, fake it til you make it, right? So I'm trying to use that more often. Work in progress.


Not having office politics is so liberating!

BUT: It's lonely not having someone to bitch to

Look, even in the most functional of workplaces, there's always that one office politics that drive you crazy. Whether it's a meeting you're not "supposed" to speak at, or that person you have to wait for approval from, or whatever, in any autonomy there's still a red tape. When you're solo you're your only speed bump so it's lovely. 

But at the same time, because you're solo you've got no comrade. In thinking back, some of the ways I'd bonded the most with people were those tough times, when there was a fire needing to be put out or a person causing a ruckus. There's nothing like a crisis to build trust and see what people are made of. I do miss that.

The point is, you gotta embrace those shitty office politics and know that without that, how would you meet your work BFF? And if you're now a solopreneur, find someone to bitch to, and stat. Which brings me to my next truth.


Meetings are time drainers, fuck them

BUT: Everyone needs them

So get this: in entrepreneurland (which is pretty close to lalaland) there are still meetings. I think as social creatures, we just can't get enough of it. I can't tell you how many meetups and brainstorms and work sessions and coffee chats there are out there, and I'm NOT social. So social people probably go to a bunch more.

So really, the solution isn't to get rid of meetings, no matter how pointless they seem, and are, sometimes. You have to know that they are crucial, but you have to try and make the most of it. Take great notes and hone your fast-typing skills if you're not an active participant. Use it as training wheels for public speaking and work on that automatic flush in your cheeks (ANYONE ELSE HAVE THAT? IT FUCKING SUCKS). 


I get to make my own task list!

BUT: Shit I don't want to do still make it onto that list

This one kind of circles back to the time thing. Because the thing is, you'll always feel like there isn't TIME to do something, but the reality is, there are no time drainers. It's just shit you want to do and don't want to do.

So yeah, that to-do list is going to have amazing things where I feel like, is this forreal? (like, painting a crest is really on the list today?? Awesome!) and stuff that's like, ugh why can't someone else do this for me? (one word: TAXES). A job is a job and not a hobby because it's not all honky dory. I hate talking on the phone, but it's necessary to build relationships. I've been meaning to clean up the tagging on the blog posts (oops) and the products (double oops). I need to design a catalog. I need to make an online portfolio of my custom design. It goes on.

It felt like that at the corporate job, and I was convinced that it was because I didn't get to design my own strategy and priorities that the tasks involved shit that didn't excite me. Nope. Even if it's my own business, there are things that I need to do, want to do, and have to be prioritized with the limited time I'm able to make for it. Jeez. So yeah, that never ends.

 
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