I did it! Traded cube life and a regular paycheck for the uncertain (call it, exciting) life of an entrepreneur. It’s not that new to me, since I’ve been a freelance writer, photographer, even one-time television producer in my past working life. I thought I’d be doing gigs all my life never to confine myself in a regular 9-5. But when the opportunity to get a more corporate-type job came along, I took it. Who doesn’t want the security of a regular paycheck?
Looking back at the last 3 years of corporate life, these are some of the things I’ve learned: do what is expected, keep your head down, cc everyone in your emails but be brief, and wear comfortable but stylish shoes. Truth is, the most valuable lesson I learned working in a corporate environment is: BE NICE — TO EVERYONE – whether it’s the Vice President or the Mail Clerk, your manager or the cleaning crew. Be nice. Say hello, smile. It’s a long day to be away from one’s family or from one’s home. That’s why it’s a job, they say. So why not make it as pleasant an experience as possible?
You never know what other people are going through.
There were times when I’d find someone in the hallway just after they’d gotten off the phone and you could tell things were not going well. And I’d smile, sometimes I’d say, it looks like you need a hug! And yes, they accepted it – a hug from me, a co-worker. Just at that moment, it was what they needed.
I wish people were nicer to each other in general. Things would be different. Companies would run differently. Wars would end!
So after almost three years, it was time for me to move on. I’ve taken the Good Life Project’s motto to heart: “Don’t just build a living, build a life!”
I told the company I worked for that I needed more flexibility with my schedule because I wanted to spend more time with my kids. While this is true, I realize that I also need to build something for them. And when you are working for someone else, that is less likely to happen.
People have asked what I’ve been doing with myself since leaving my job a week ago. “Working,” I reply. Ironically, when you are working for yourself, minutes can stretch into hours easily, and there is more pressure because there is more at stake. But you don’t feel exhausted or annoyed, because you know you are working to fulfill your vision, your mission.
I am thankful for the flexible schedule I have now. Giving me a better work-life balance. I take my kids to school, I pick them up. This Friday, I’m chaperoning the 2nd grade field trip. My kids and husband seem happier. I am happier. Even our dog is happier since I can now walk him for a longer time in the mornings. This is not to say that working from home or even working for oneself is for everyone. Everyone’s got their own style, their own needs, etc. I am amazed at how people make it work!
Last Sunday, my entrepreneur cousin was missing from a family gathering. He texted me a sentimental and long message – “Welcome to the life (of entrepreneurship)” He apologized for not being at the party – he was working – putting in the hours for his start-up. But of course I’d understand… and if I didn’t then, he said I would. Because I was one of them now – entrepreneurs.
I joke that instead of working for the man, I decided, I’d be the man. So I’m manning up – putting in the hours. Working…. Working it. I want to build something for my family. I want to make a positive impact in my community, on society as a whole.
Happy Monday everyone.