Self Employment

It’s 11:30, Monday night. I missed the post I had intended for mother’s day yesterday, and I just got home from work…five minutes ago.

I am constantly amused that my job often entails driving through marked, gated, threats-of-violence-posted countryside and farms after dark to meet up with a bunch of guys and their pipe for a few hours.

More so, I think about being self-employed. For the most part, it’s a pretty charmed existence. We spend ungodly amounts of time free and at home, working around the house and raising the kid. I have the time and resources to work on a variety of projects (albeit all after that blessed time, 7PM, when Trex goes to bed) and I don’t have to deal with the monotony and dreariness that a 9 to 5 can entail.

Did I metion it’s 11:30PM and I just got home, though? That’s a huge part of the trade off. When they call, I go. It doesn’t matter what time, where, or what my plans had been, I go. It’s the nature of the business that I have to be at the job site as soon as they are done. “No” is not acceptable. “How about tomorrow” is right out. It is essential for my work that I get in and out of the test hole as soon as possible once they’ve finished drilling. Anyone who has ever made plans with me on any day but Sunday knows how this works. If I ever have the audacity to make plans, period, work will call last minute and I have to cancel to go do a job. Seriously, it is a drop everything and start driving situation, and that’s all there is to it.

Also, stress. I worry constantly; that’s the added bonus of owning a business. Whereas a nine-to-fiver can go home and be done with work, having days and evenings free of any and all thoughts of work, we never get that. There is no time during the day or the week that I don’t feel like the  sword of Damocles isn’t dangling over my head. This is our only source of income. What if it slows down? What if there’s an accident? What if I can’t make a payment on something, or my mortgage, or the IRS decides they need both legs this year? What if equipment breaks down or one of us gets hurt or or or…

There’s no unemployment for us. There’s not really a safety net. This is it. It’s hard to make people understand that “work” never ends for us. It never leaves our minds, and we don’t get to have vacation approved and guaranteed. Even if that trip or that party or that brunch was planned for a year in advance, I still can never absolutely promise I’ll be there. Even in all my free time, there’s still more paperwork, maintenance, or planning that needs to happen. It just doesn’t end.

I’m not complaining, don’t get me wrong. I love how life is right now but I can’t help but feel like this setup, the success of this business, is fleeting. I’m trying to make the most of the time I have because eventually, maybe I won’t be self employed. Maybe I’ll come home so tired, day after day, I’ll just want microwave dinners and sitcoms, god forbid.

A part of me misses having a real job, however. I did like having time off. Once I got home, I wasn’t working anymore. I could shut off and focus on what I wanted to do for me. If my boss okay’d a vacation, I knew nobody would be calling in a panic, needing me to run out to a job site at 2AM. Plus, REGULAR PAYCHECK and more than that, taxes were already taken out.

I know I’ll never be good at being employed, though. Even though I contemplate getting a job all the time, I plan the next ventures out before they’re even ready for paper. The risk is always scary and the failures can be crushing, but the world and this economy needs entrepreneurs. I just need to get brave enough to try again.

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