working alone as an artist; attempting to stitch together a life out of nothing – was a different kind of hard. I’d wake up lost, dazed, and overwhelmed — with existential dread: a mountain of plans and possibilities, but no guarantee of success – in the form of validation, recognition, or income. everything that I did could all end up being a waste of time: all my efforts could result in nothing.
This resonates. It feels risky to try to go it alone. And yet, in all my years in a day job, I got very little in the way of recognition — a few awards for me and for my team. I did receive a guaranteed paycheck — though it was less than my colleagues doing an equivalent job, which I fought for three years before resigning. I argued I deserved a better title, but was given systemic excuses and gaslighted. I asked to do more strategic work, but with a limited team size, my colleague’s promotion meant I instead inherited her busywork.
People complain that no one wants to work anymore. And it’s true to an extent: no one wants to work in a job where they are underpaid, unfairly treated, unappreciated, and constrained.
I like my work, but so far dislike jobs.
My friend in the tech industry pointed out that a job can be good when you have a supportive team and rewarding compensation structure. Even with that, I’m wary of top-heavy organizational structures, inflexible systems and the sway of the status quo. Organizations need someone to fill a role, so when you’re ready to grow out of that role they have little incentive to support you. The machine is more important than the people who make it up.
when you work alone, you will always swim in your own moods, habits, and tendencies. you will be chased by your own sharks, and other creatures of the deep — many of which are those voices in your head, keeping you paralyzed with varieties of fear. if you listen to them, those are the ones which will drown you.
I’m just now (over the past few months) starting my journey in self employment, so I’m still working to update my mindset. Even though swimming in the lanes brought me little, I’ve spent my whole life up to this point knowing them for the path to security and success. I am fighting off my own monsters now as I reorient to my own control.
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[…] Swimming outside the lanes. Tracy Durnell talks about leaving her day job and going out on her own. “People complain that no one wants to work anymore. And it’s true to an extent: no one wants to work in a job where they are underpaid, unfairly treated, unappreciated, and constrained. I like my work, but so far dislike jobs.” […]