I like working for other people

By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day.
~Robert Frost

I really do like working for other people. I have a hard time picturing myself working for myself. Why? Well, mostly because I’m fucking lazy. Working for yourself is too much work. It’s much less effort for me to get out of bed, wander over to work, and do whatever they need done until it’s five and I get to come home and sit around waiting for the internet to work so I can play Minecraft. It doesn’t pay for shit, but it’s easy.

And I don’t like work coming home with me. Right now work stays at work. I don’t think about work until I get there, and that’s how I like it. If I worked from home I’d probably either work too much or not at all. And I’d be guaranteed to think about it all day. I’ve seen my old boss worry himself sick about this, that, or the other. He was supposed to take Saturday off, but he never did. And he didn’t work from home. Not even his wife could keep him out of the damn store. I’d drive to my other job and see him with the lights on in his office, still working several hours after close. Not my thing. If I’m working over forty hours a week, I want my time and a half. I did the two jobs and sixty hour week thing, and I’ve had enough of that shit.

Not to mention the uncertainty. Sure, I may get fired or laid off, and my paycheck sucks, but I know how much I’m going to make every damn two weeks without fail. I’m not worrying over a fickle economy or a fickle customer base. I don’t have to lay in bed at night and wonder if there’s going to be enough work to make the rent this month. That’s someone else’s job.

And I know a lot of the people who are rabid about working for yourself will tell me that that’s not how it is, and I’m being pessimistic and working for yourself is great and it pays well and you set your own hours and you’re free to do what you please.

I know people who work like that. I also know a lot of self-employees who don’t work like that. Can’t take a damn week off to save their life. I also know if I did anything for forty hours a week I’d come to hate it eventually. I rather like what I’m doing now, but it’s not great. I don’t get up every morning going “Yay! I get to go to work today!” No, I trudge out of bed like the best of them, muttering something foul and putting on the tea. And this is probably as good as it gets for me doing something for forty hours a week. I don’t like work.

And maybe that’s what separates me from the “Work for Yourself! It’s Great!” crowd. I don’t fool myself. I don’t like working. I like it much better when someone else is taking care of the details and I just show up, do something, and get paid. Of course, it also helps that I have as much ambition as your average rock.

But Fox, they say, you’re stuck letting your employer make the rules! Not really, actually. You don’t like the work? Quit. Don’t like the hours? Get them changed or quit. You better be ready to find a new job fast if you’re going to do this. I long ago discovered that the key to working two jobs is to make sure you have one god damn day off and that it remains inviolate. Put your damn foot down. And be prepared to not make as much as you’d like…the employers, naturally, are going to want the idiots who are willing to flush their personal lives down the drain just to make a buck. I took a pay hit and eventually lost a job because I refused to work until close (which meant between the two jobs I worked a fourteen hour day at least once a week). Working for someone else doesn’t mean you have to bend over. You just have to learn what you will do and what you won’t do and remain firm about it.

There’s room enough in this world for the self-employed and the not self-employed without either feeling pressured to join the other.

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One Response to “I like working for other people”

  1. Dargon Says:

    I’ve heard many spout the “be your own boss” mantra. I’ve seen some people who are their own boss who are the happiest people in the world. I’ve seen more people who are their own boss who are perpetually stressed out.

    I know myself well enough to know what would happen if I were my own boss. Nothing would get done and eventually I’d be working for someone else anyway.

    That being said, when it comes to putting your foot down, being damned good helps. They may try to pull things to discourage you, but if you are valuable to them enough, they won’t get rid of you. This is especially true in more and more skilled positions, where the cost of replacing someone and training a new person is quite a barrier. It may be a better position for them to bitch a little and go ahead and give you your Saturdays.

    That’s a lesson I learned a nudge too late at CCI. Then again, they tanked, so whatever.

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