Having a Job in 2021: Between Security and Freedom
Sometimes a good newsletter drops into your inbox. This has been such a case. It made me think.
I’m signed up to a handful. Probably more than I’m aware of. Most of them I don’t even remember why I signed up for. Some of them can be actually useful… Sometimes.
And a few are actually good.
A couple of days ago, I’ve received one from José León, who considers himself an entrepreneur (this word is getting thrown around a lot and I am yet to understand what's the proper use for it) that writes about some smart stuff.
And the most recent one (from January 10th, 2020), titled After 12 years working on safe 9–5 jobs, I quit to become Me Inc. actually resonated with me a lot (even though the title is too long for my taste).
Quick tl;dr: He discusses how no job he ever had satisfied him, his choice to go solo and the inherent drawbacks of having a conventional job.
Especially now, during corona, these are the times of change. And we are all learning to adapt: People, businesses, schools… and we are adapting our outlook on things along.
Canyons and Cracks Underneath
I don’t have many years of experience working. I’ve been laid off from my first proper, serious job this October, after six months (me and my boss(es) all found each other incompatible). Some would argue that I quit, but they approached me about it first.
Their alternative offer? Create my own, company and work for them through that (almost exclusively writing articles). It’s cheaper for companies to work with other companies than to take people as their direct employees here.
At first, they offered me a pay that I was still pretty satisfied with, but then they changed that last moment. And I refused to be a typing machine working for a pocket-change.
The job was great at first. But soon the cracks beneath began to show. Cracks that were, really, more like canyons the better you looked.
I was expected to show enthusiasm when I really had none. Enthusiasm to work even beyond the 9–5 work time and during weekends. Just because my seniors did so. I was even nagged for not being a part of a debate in slack AFTER work time, about the work I had already finished for that day.
No matter what and how much I actually DID, I was mostly expected to work. I suppose that happens when you’re paid per hour, not per result (or the quality of that result). Constantly being under stress, because of thinking what you’ll say in the morning meeting to report what you did the previous day and what you’ll do that day, doesn’t really help either. It just made me more anxious.
And I couldn’t even spend my free time to further learn about my field (even though the company apparently very encouraged further studying). And even if I could, after a full day of doing marketing stuff, I really didn’t want to deal with more marketing.
I wanted to do anything else. Switch my brains off for a second.
I want to travel. I want to see Europe. I even had this amazing plan to travel across it by train. Unfortunately, between Covid and having a job, that became pretty much impossible. It still is. And it’s one of the reasons I’m skeptical about finding a new job.
So working hard despite being under-appreciated and being schemed against by my own boss, who should’ve supported me the most, really isn’t something for me.
If I were to find a job in marketing again, I would probably also be doing a billion other things I neither particularly like, nor am particularly good at. I would eventually become a boy for everything again. And I don’t want that.
Of course, if you were to ask the company I worked for, they would give you a different story. And I would honestly be very curious since they didn’t really give me any proper reasoning at all.
So how will you change?
The newsletter I mentioned above tackles very similar issues. Extended workday, no freedom, consistent reporting, working with people you don’t like, etc. At this point you may think something along the line “Oh, my good kids today just complain all the time and they have it so easy, etc.”
But the newsletter José wrote does strike some good points. Most importantly, why do we take having a normal job for granted, if it causes us misery? Is it so shocking to try to be happy? In tandem with this, in most societies you are looked down upon if you don’t have a job; Like a failure.
Is the direction of José is taking the right one? Of abandoning conventional safety, security and work hours? Perhaps.
I have already started working on producing videos and blogs more regularly. What troubles me the most now is the initiative of how am I supposed to make a living from it?
I am a giant introvert. I hate putting myself out there. I have no established following. And despite believing that there is quality in my content, I am skeptical about being enough to live from. Starting is nice and all, and some would say life is about taking risks, but still…
But José seems happy. And if your goals, like mine, are to be healthy and happy, perhaps there is something to this.
Maybe you shouldn’t quit. But I deeply encourage you to ask yourself if your current path is still leading you towards your goals.