S*lF-eMpLoYmEnT – The Bad

Inspiration for this blog comes from many places. Part of it is the pure catharsis of trying to recodify the events of my life in as comical a way as possible. Considering how awful life can be sometimes (all of it, not just my own), little actual work needs to be done.

The initial inspiration for this post came from the image attached at the top. A friend of mine sent it to me, and it had me laughing pretty loudly, even after I realized that it was describing my life (currently) pretty perfectly. Since she sent it to me, I have written a blog post on the positive aspects of self-employment, and found that it would be liked by the ‘self-employment brigade of idiots’ that live here on WordPress and seem to like anything they hope will promote their own business.

That annoyed me, but it also motivated me to write even further, focusing on just how shit the experience of self-employment can be.

I think the truth of the matter is that many of the joys of self-employment are only virtues for the initial period. Once the honey moon wears off, things get really old really fast. You begin to really miss having the large and obvious demarcations provided by something bullshit like a commute. After a nice long commute, or hell even a short one, you know very obviously that you are home and that the work day s is over. You can kiss the shit goodbye with self-employment. On top of that, you could also say goodbye to your living room, which is now an office. Some fortunate readers of this blog might have dedicated offices in their house, but for us normies not living in such luxury, one of our normal rooms will turn into a makeshift office. And that sucks, because you are then constantly reminded of the work you need to do. Your friends come over to watch a movie or some shit, and you are reminded of all the shit you didn’t get done for work.

Who am I kidding? I’m almost forty. I don’t have any friends.

The problem isn’t just geographical, but it is also temporal. When you live several times zones away from the person paying you, you are going to find yourself work odd hours. Time as a concept ends up becoming a hard thing to manage. ‘Working hours’ ends up meaning pretty much anything.

While you may stop and think about the hours you will ultimately bill, the above sentence may sound like a bit of a good thing. But the algebra of billable hours never seems to play in your favor, and some of those ‘a few minutes here and there’ groupings fail to make it on to your account books.

You can work in your pajamas, that much is true. But I think the question really should be ‘just how often will I work in my pajamas before something inside me breaks?’ The first month spent working at home in your very comfortable house pants seems great, but at some point you wish it will all end just for a little variety. You come to resent your house pants, as they come to represent work. Here’s how it worked out for me. I’d wake up and take off my pajamas, go out for a walk, then come back home and put the house pants back on. And then I got to work. But soon it got to the point where I was looking for any excuse to not work. I started to keep the the non-work pants on, usually with some kind of ‘I need to go out in a few hours anyway’ excuse at hand.

Just to close this post in a nice full circle, we can conclude with some thoughts on the image above. Self-employment means that you are always a 10 second walk from your fridge, and all the food you were going to save for the weekend. Working from home is a nightmare on your waistline. Likely your heart, too – or so I gather from the amount of coffee I put back.

But what is truly the worst aspect of it is how all the days blur together. If you don’t have something big in your life to break up the monotony, you truly won’t know what day it is. And if you are doing all this during a global pandemic, you will quickly make it 14 days before you realize that you haven’t had a weekend in some time.

To anyone who tells you that working from home is a joy, they are largely full of shit.

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