Our Lives

Our Lives: Working for myself is difficult

March 2, 2013 

KIMBERLYCONLEY.OURLIVES2012.AL.JEL

Kimberly Conley.

JLEONARD@NEWSOBSERVER.COM — JULI LEONARD

Even though I have a part-time, on-its-way-to-becoming-a-permanent job, I still consider myself self-employed. I have two clients, one I work for in trade, the other a traditional arrangement.

In essence, I have at least three “bosses” at any given time. I enjoy each of them dearly, but keeping everyone happy is a real challenge at times.

When you work for one boss, you eventually figure out his or her expectations. You might also report to his or her boss.

But I think it’s different when you are self-employed. When your boss’s boss asks you to handle a project, your real boss takes this into consideration and may lighten your load.

Not so much when you are self-employed.

Don’t get me wrong. I want each of my bosses to feel he’s the center of my universe (well, my self-employed universe) or I’m not balancing things well.

When I tell people I work for myself, the reaction is typically the same. “Wow, you’re so lucky!” or “Good for you!”

Well, yes and yes.

Please don’t get the impression there are bonbons purchased en masse or that I spend three hours a day at the gym or that I get to jet off to tropical destinations (or even the non-tropical kind) on a whim. Ha!

My life is a bit harried these days, but who doesn’t like to be in demand, wanted or needed?

I like it, but it does take lots of switching gears and time management. If you see me at the playground, or volunteering in my kid’s classroom, it’s almost a guarantee I’ll be working late, working on the weekends or both.

Finding a balance is always tough, no matter if you have one boss or 10. It reminds me to make time for the things that are most important to my family and me. I’m not looking a gift horse in the mouth here.

I understand that having the option to work when I choose is a tremendous benefit. It’s just that the work is done when the work is done, and that doesn’t necessarily coincide with a typical workday.

Expectations you put on yourself also play a key role. Being able to complete the work is one thing. Doing it at a level that you are satisfied with is another.

When it’s your name on the door (or the website), you step up your game, plain and simple.

I’m happy to have carved out my own piece of the proverbial pie. Doing what I like to do and keeping things fresh, interesting and challenging is awesome.

The next time a friend or colleague tells you that they work for themselves, revise your visual from bunny slippers and bonbons to flats and a power bar.

kimberly5.17@hotmail.com

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