I am a bitch. A first class, top drawer, unmistakably horrid, bitch.
I apologise. Profusely.
I could say I was having a rough day… but that wears kinda thin the 26th day on the trot, doesn’t it?
I could say I was tired… but you know I like to be in bed before they switch our street lights off.
I could say I was unwell… but this is the girl who hasn’t been to hospital since she was born and has taken antibiotics less than ten times in her entire life. (Totes true, by the way.)
I have to admit it. It’s true. Self-employment has made me this way. And you, my cherished ones*, have had to bear the brunt of the freelance monster I’ve become. All I can do is try my best to explain…
I take rudeness to the next level
It’s Monday morning and you (ever-so-nicely) pop round unannounced for a coffee and a catch up. I (ever-so-rudely) put on a grumpy face and explain it’s Monday morning, the busiest forward planning day of the week. You cock your head playfully, laugh, and remind me that I’m my own boss and I can set my own deadlines. Tut, tut. Silly me, I forgot!
Don’t worry, be happy
The end of the month is looming and there are bills that need paying and that one client still hasn’t settled their invoices and it looks like that long term contract will end next week, but I am not allowed to worry about it. What will be, will be! you say. What’s the point in worrying? you say. Plenty more clients out there! you helpfully remind me. Will focus on that then. Mental note to stop forgetting how easy being self-employed is.
It’s Friday evening and you call for a chat. You can’t understand why I’m not saying much and quiz me relentlessly for twenty minutes. I explain that I’ve had a pretty shitty week and ran over an important deadline and pissed off a client. You laugh and remind me that I work for myself and set my own hours and timetables. And I can tell whoever I want to fuck off, because who can they complain to?! Yes, I must remember that one.
Meeting up for a Saturday afternoon vino or five and the topic of work comes around. You all moan about working full time and how there’s never enough time to do the housework, see the family, catch up with friends, run errands… I nod and agree and before I know it I’ve been subjected to half an hour of finger wagging and reminders that I’m so lucky to work from home because I must get so much done. Your house must be spotless! You must feel so relaxed! I wish I didn’t have a proper job! Erm, yep. Must set ANOTHER reminder to tell my American clients I can’t work on PST time and to set my out of office to let people know I can’t possibly work this afternoon because I’m reorganising my sock drawer and looking up recipes on Nigella’s blog…
This pain is of my own making
It’s that time again, when I have one of my wobbles, one of my moments of complete and utter self-doubt (every six months or so if you’d like to add it to your Google calendar). You find me sniffing in front of my laptop, eating 3 Oreos at a time, and wailing that I’ve ruined my career and I need to find a job. A 9 to 5 job where they pay me the same amount at the same time every month and I can take a day off if I don’t feel well or a week off if I fancy a break and actually get paid for it. You smile and nod and proceed to remind me that I chose this lifestyle, this crazy path, this student-esque utopia… despite all the advice and red flags, I chose to take the plunge and leave the security blanket behind. Ummm… (cue copious blubbing).
But I say, thank you. Thank you for that lack of warmth and missing affirmation that I have not in fact totally fucked my life up. Thank you for that great, big I TOLD YOU SO. That self-satisfied I DID WARN YOU. Really.
All the misconceptions. All the ridiculous things you think about me and the work I do. All of you who are waiting for me to suck at this. And all of you who are half expecting to see me behind the supermarket meat counter** in a few months time. THANK YOU.