For those of you who are self-employed, you will totally understand where I’m coming from when I say this: FREELANCING IS HARDER THAN YOU THINK!
Sorry for shouting, but as much as there are perks to working from home (working in your PJs being the main one,) it really is a testament to your strength of character to make freelancing successful. You have to be determined, disciplined and stubborn – three traits I thankfully have!
But no matter how hard it is, I occasionally like to think back to a time when I did a multitude of jobs I really didn’t like at all … (‘hate’ is too strong a word, after all, it paid my bills) … just for a little context.
I worked as a PA (you can take a look at these descriptions to get an idea of what it’s all about) for many years – eighteen to be precise, and it’s a job I never really envisaged myself doing in the first place. When I left school, I wanted to go to college to study Travel & Tourism – I had always wanted to find a job that was travel related and figured this would be a good first step. Of course, my Mum, bless her, thought that I should become a secretary instead because, you know, “You’ll always have a job!”
She was right in a way, I was never out of work. This was in an era where I could always go to a temp agency to find the next job and there was never a time I was unemployed.
Ironically, when I graduated in 2010 as a mature student from University of Kent, I found it incredibly difficult to find work – even working as a PA again. Some agencies even suggested I should take my degree off my CV because they felt companies would think I wouldn’t be serious about being ‘just a PA’ because I now had a degree. Unbelievable right? What they didn’t realise was that, as a single parent, I just wanted to put food on the table for my kids and would do any job at all.
Needless to say, I didn’t work with those agencies again.
I had a Careers Counsellor at school but can’t remember anything they told me – they had no impact on me whatsoever. But I do remember that not once did they suggest that going to university was even an option for ‘someone like me’ and I grew up thinking that if no-one suggested university, it meant I just wasn’t clever enough. I wish I’d had someone, or at least a place I could go, that would at least show me I had options.
Thankfully, things have changed now, and my children have all the information they need at the touch of a button. Plus, they can always call on me for advice – I think they’re coming round to the idea that I might know a thing or two about a thing or two! One child is at University, but if Dexter doesn’t want to go, as long as he’s happy, that’s fine too.
What I won’t do, however, is tell my boys what jobs they ‘should’ do but instead, I’ll encourage them to work out for themselves what job they would ‘like’ to do. My mate Confucius summed it up perfectly:
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life .”
… and that’s what I’ve (eventually) done – it just took me 25 years to realise what that job was.