Tag Archives: workaholic

I’m a Boss

I didn’t consider myself my own boss until my best friend had to break it down for me the other night. I was going off about a few comments I’d received from people who assumed I’d just been twiddling my thumbs for days on end since quitting my job, and for someone who prides herself on her work ethic, the remarks were pretty much a slap in the face. One person asked why I was tired since I have no responsibilities, and when I was telling someone else why I hadn’t taken care of X,Y, and Z, they asked why not because it’s not like I work all day. Wanna bet?

So as I went on and on and on again to my best friend about how nobody understands what I do and I consequently hate everybody in the world, she explained the real issue to me: People don’t understand what it is to be your own boss.

I didn’t think of myself as my own boss mainly because I still have editors to answer to. They can either give me the go ahead with an idea or shut me down altogether so I felt like they are the ones really in charge. But the truth is I’m a free agent. I control how much I make by how many hours I choose to put in, how good my ideas are, and how hard I grind to get my work published in multiple areas…and that basically makes me a boss.

What my best friend said about people not understanding the idea of being your own boss makes sense when I think about the full-time job I previously had. Whenever I said I was working from home people always assumed I was just chilling in my apartment watching Golden Girls and eating takeout. Yea, Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, and Sophia were on in the background but I was still working. When you work from home, you often end up working longer and harder than you do in the office. There’s no commute time, less distractions (if you turn off the TV), and I personally used to break my neck to make sure I answered emails immediately because you just had a feeling that if you took too long to respond someone would assume you were doing more relaxing than actually working.

I think that same attitude applies to freelancers, business owners, and any other person who is their own boss, especially when they start out. It’s no lie that in the beginning you put in way more hours than you did working a 9 to 5. Not only are you actually doing what you’ve been contracted to do, you’re also scouting out new opportunities, being your own accountant, probably updating a website for yourself, and wearing a million other hats. You enjoy doing it because you’re building your business or your brand but that doesn’t make it any less tiring. A little less stressful? Maybeut it’s still hard work. If I’m not physically writing, I’m looking for something to write about and that can be just as time consuming as writing itself. I’m also creating invoices, seeing what’s already been covered, checking the traffic on my articles, responding to last minute requests, etc. My days are more like 8 to 8s than 9 to 5s but when I look at all that I’ve accomplished in the day I don’t mind because I know it was effort well spent.

Of course no one knows all that you do in a day when they can’t physically see you but I felt it was necessary to shut down the assumptions about the lifestyle of a free agent. When all is said and done I know I’m working harder than most people punching a time clock, and that makes me a boss.

P.S. Check out my tips for how to go after the career you really want on Vibe Vixen.

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Hardworker or Workaholic?

I work hard. I’ve been known to stay at work until the lights shut off at 10:30p and my mind takes me to a Lifetime Original Movie where the ending doesn’t quite work out so well for the only woman left in the office after dark. Occasionally, I’ve come in on a Saturday afternoon, and while on vacation I like to check my email just about every 90 minutes or so. It’s a bad habit, but nevertheless, I wouldn’t consider myself a workaholic.

There are women I’ve come across though, who are suffering from the serious addiction of workaholism, as I like to call it, and in need of an intervention—ASAP. You know, the woman who is first in the office and last out, who eats breakfast, lunch, and dinner at her desk, and who never takes advantage of the go-home early mandates the boss rarely hands out before a long holiday weekend, in exchange for “just finishing up a couple of things,” which usually means at least 2-3 more hours of work.

This is my work environment and when I joined the staff, I felt compelled to adhere to the corporate culture—eating at my desk, staying late every night, answering emails within 30 seconds—but even when I was told that I wasn’t expected to put in those hours, the behavior continued. I would work because, frankly, I had nothing else to do and working 24/7 made me feel important. “Work fulfills me,” I’d think proudly as I typed away on my computer on Friday and Saturday nights, but the truth is, work shouldn’t and can’t be everything to you. You need relationships with people outside of work, you need hobbies outside of the office, and you need to not always feel compelled to be doing something. Relaxation is allowed—it’s healthy and it should be encouraged.

A wise, senior member of our staff once told an old coworker that her father always regarded anyone who stayed late as incapable of completing their work in the required time. This gem was passed along to me, and I couldn’t agree more. Of course there are times when work can’t be completed in just 8 hours, and depending on your career aspirations, there is a time for kissing up, a time for staying late, and a time for impressing. But there is also a time to examine the real reason behind living as a workaholic.

Being addicted to work—or possibly afraid to appear as though you don’t give 120% to your job—is just as bad as any other addiction. More often than not, there is something underneath—insecurity, fear of failure, anxiety to go home, a desire to appear indispensible etc.—that keeps us in the office around the clock. I work hard because of a personal sense of accountability to meet deadlines and fulfill the duties of my position, but I don’t feel an obligation to appear overly busy all of the time, or to complete unnecessary and ineffective tasks to project a guise of unmatched dedication.

During one of my end-of-the-year reviews, my boss made me agree to always leave the office no later than 6pm, and preferably before then.  She also advised that there will always be work to do and never enough time to do it, so it’s unfair to not allow yourself to take time off and enjoy the vacation days that your company allots you. While she may not follow this advice herself, I have come to see the light outside of the cubicle, and as a recovering almost-workaholic, I’d encourage you to as well.

[Originally Published Here]

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