When it comes to work, I say yes to everything. Part of that’s in my genes – my pop was a coalminer who grew up in times where it was only picking blackberries and shooting rabbits that got the family through, so the first thing he inevitably asks me when we catch up is, “Getting plenty of work, mate?”
Yes. Yes, I am. But when I head out to grab a coffee or some groceries or whatever, people always assume I’ve got the day off. And when I tell them I work from home, they respond that they could never do that, ask how I have the discipline and laugh indulgently when I tell them that they’d pick up that discipline pretty quickly when the bills start rolling in each month.
Because that’s the thing about being your own boss: you might get to come up with a cool sole trader name for yourself (Kneejerk Bohemia) and call the spare room an ‘innovation hub where the magic happens”, but every time you take a break to play Mario Kart, read a book or stare vacantly at the fridge in the hope that groceries will appear without you having to interact with mouthy check-out chicks, your boss is right there. Right there casually asking why you’re not finishing that article that’s due on Friday. Or sending out those invoices. Or taking photos of those cab receipts from yesterday and uploading them to Xero before they fade. Or contacting designers for quotes on making kneejerkbohemia.com more than a placeholder, since you’re paying for the hosting fees anyway.
Yeah, you can set your own hours. But that can mean working long after someone who doesn’t share a skull with their boss would have quit. If you’re not careful, it can be worse than one of those micro-managing supervisors who’s always emailing, texting and ringing to see when that project is going to be finished – especially since you can’t make a complaint to HR about workplace bullying.
And in the worse cases, being your own boss can mean toiling under an unrepentant slave-driver who repeatedly tells you how good you’ve got it, and that working on weekends or taking your laptop and mobile wi-fi device with you everywhere you go “just in case something urgent comes in” is a good trade-off for not having to commute, you little whinger, do you want to go back to Woman’s Day? Do you?
Which is fair enough, I suppose. I’d better get back to work.