There’s no such thing as a day off

Since I got my nifty new visa I’ve gone back to freelance writing, which of course means being self-employed. I’ve had various bouts of self-employment over the years, including a few times where I was employed on a contract basis, so self-employed as far as taxes were concerned.

On the one hand, it’s awesome. It’s a great way of having a flexible schedule. Today we went over to Adam’s nan’s house for a cup of tea, and yesterday we had a driving all over the place adventure. We frequently go look at goats in Cheddar Gorge. We don’t have to be in a particular place at any given time, and that’s pretty cool.

On the other hand, it sucks. There’s no such thing as a day off, bank holidays are an annoyance, and you always have to be working. If you take a day off, if you go look at goats, that’s time that wasn’t spent looking for work, that wasn’t spent hustling.

This was taken late-ish one evening because the cat was being cute (in the corner, behind the lamp), but demonstrates the whole working all the time thing. Adam’s working on a commission, and you can see my elbow there as I write a piece. It may have been a weekend. Doesn’t matter. Work is every day.

There’s a significant down side to working for yourself. You always have to work. You always have to be coming up with ideas, with things to work on, with people to pay you for that work. Even writing this, I feel like I should be doing something that more concretely makes money. Blogging is a luxury, though a vaguely justifiable one.

I’m lucky enough to be able to do this type of work, and that’s in no small part because I’ve worked my ass off at it.

It’s the time of year where people get disgruntled about their jobs and decide to become self-employed when they see those of us who are able to enjoy a day out in the sun. It’s the time of year where we’re gathering up the previous year’s receipts (well, I am; I like filing taxes as soon as the financial year is closed), and working into the night.

It’s a hard slog doing the self-employed thing. There’s a lot of cutting back, deciding on what’s essential. There are months where people don’t buy art, where nobody needs the stuff I write. There are ups and downs.

I think it’s the type of thing I’d never suggest to anybody. Ever. It sounds negative, but it’s more a reflection of my pessimistic realism. There are a lot of self-employed people, but to succeed at it takes a lot of work. A lot. When people ask how we are, my answer is always ‘good, busy’. There’s always something to be done, always more work to do, always more income to generate.

So, as we move into warmer months, there will be enviable moments where we’re out enjoying an afternoon drive. But there will be even more times that staff members of all sorts of companies are enjoying a weekend afternoon, having a relaxing evening.

In all those days after you get paid, dear employed-by-other-people people, remember us. Sip that pint on a bank holiday Monday afternoon and savour it. Enjoy it for us. We’re good, busy.

Now then… it’s 7 pm, and that means it’s time to get on with work.

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About jeninher30s

A writer and procrastinator.

2 responses to “There’s no such thing as a day off”

  1. vivisunoriginal says :

    I’ve been thinking about this post and I obviously just don’t work hard enough.

    The downside to freelancing is definitely late payments, sometimes paying me just isn’t the priority that I feel it should be.

    Other than that, it’s great.

    My commute is approximately 2 feet, from my bed to my desk.

    If I want to work in my dressing gown (or wrapped in a towel) until mid afternoon I can, that would’ve been frowned on in my 9 to 5 days.

    If I am working in the evening it’s because I either took time off in the day or I intend to take time off the next day, or because I’m ‘working’ at the theatre, watching a play that I’ll write about the next day.

    The same thing goes for working weekends or holidays, if I’m doing that it’s because I’ve either taken time off in the week or I’m intending to take time off the next week…or simply because a) I’m a little bit greedy or b) I enjoy what I do and therefore I’ve taken too much on when I should have said “actually my schedule’s a bit full this week”.

    I dread the thought of ever having to go back to working for someone else.

    • jeninher30s says :

      I think it can vary quite a bit, and for both Adam and me it is largely due to us loving our work. That said, with the type of self-employed work we do, if we don’t come up with new ideas we don’t get paid. Most of the time I’m thinking about new topics, new outlets, new angles.

      When I’ve had contract jobs, or regular and reliable gigs, I had a lot more free time. I don’t think I’d go back to that, though. It’s probably to do with my attention whore-ness. I want attention from as many readers as possible, and that requires more outlets, which requires more angles and hustling.

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