‘FOLLOW YOUR PASSION’ '
FIND YOUR PURPOSE'
‘DO WHAT YOU LOVE’
These have become the de-facto career advice you hear these days. It’s as if we all need to be doing something incredibly inspiring and challenging in order to feel time spent at work is worthwhile. Does work need to be a spiritual, higher-calling endeavour to be satisfying?
Oscar Wilde is quoted as saying, ‘Everything popular is wrong’. Could today's popular career advice be wrong?
When we started our small contracting business, time is something that we invested heavily. Funds and experience and equipment may have been minimal, but time is something we all get an equal allotment of. If working for ourself is a priority, we will spend as much time as needed to get it off the ground.
The danger is that we stay stuck in departure mode. Imagine being on a long journey aboard a jetliner that was in lift-off mode for the entire 12 hour trans-atlantic flight. How stressful! Take off is exciting, but everyone's happy to sit back, take a deep breath and order a drink once everything is under control...
"Oh, I don't really have a business, I just work for myself."
Is something often heard out in the field. It sounds like a simpler, more manageable way to work independently without all the hassle of running a business. Who wants the headache? Get work. Get paid. Repeat.
But getting stuck in that cycle is a problem...
So one day about 8 years ago I went to a client's summer home to continue an exterior painting project. It was mid morning and the homeowner meets me at the front door with a serious look on her face and a glass of wine in her hand.
"Simon," she says, as she pulls me inside her house by the arm, "today you won't be doing any painting."
Greetings from Reykjavik! What a cool place!
We often hear about or strive for 'balance' in our lives. The idea of balance has always kind of stressed me out because I picture myself as a juggler trying to focus equally on multiple machetes in the air coming down on me and me panicking to keep it together and keep it all going while not dying a bloody death.
Balance has always felt unattainable, and thus the pursuit a little discouraging. Lately I've been more interested in the concept of focus...
Being self employed comes with the dream of having the freedom to take time off whenever we want, without having to ask permission.
The reality can sometimes be quite different. For the first 5+ years of being in business for myself I found it very difficult to take off anymore than a long weekend here and there. When I had a few extra dollars I didn't have the time, I was too busy. When I had some spare time in my schedule I didn't have the funds to go on a vacation. Forcing a holiday when you don't have much work or money isn't very enjoyable.
Taking time off can also be tough because you can do it anytime you want...which means it can always be deferred to when the timing is right. The risk is that it never happens.
So over the years I had to develop a strategy to try and get some time off...
This is a guest post written by my pal Steve Bullerwell. Steve started working with me about a decade back and made a real impression with his work ethic, desire to learn and positive attitude. We became fast friends. At the outset of the Great Recession, Steve summoned all his resourcefulness and set out to work for himself. He has successfully run his own show since. As tough as things may get sometimes, I admire how Steve uses his agency to leverage time in his life for the pursuit of a passion. A passion that helps him deal with stresses of running a business and refuel his soul. I invited him write an article for MicroContractor Blog.
TO THE WATER
Whether your a Painting contractor, a Landscaping contractor, a self employed Accountant, or you're punching your timecard signalling the beginning of your shift at the local big box superstore; one thing is for certain. The office can be a cruel and unusual place to be at times...