Freelancing and the consequences of the comfort zone (Part 1)
A few years ago I was working for a medium-sized software company with huge ambitions. It was a very exciting adventure and I've got to participate in the development of a massive software suite that big car manufacturing companies would use. I was all in, it was all about the team and everybody was really pouring their souls into this. Except one day the funding stopped, and we had that conversation with the CEO. Unfortunately all of our jobs would be cut and it would be effective right now.
So I packed my things and I went back home. Feeling like utter shit and without any ideas of what I would do next…
You see, the thing about life is that you cannot escape its underlying loop driven by capitalism. The will to work is fueled by the fear of getting behind with the bills or the stress of knowing the rent check will bounce. So you pick whatever’s the shortest path to a paycheck. Then it becomes a habit and you stick to it because it has now become your comfort zone.
What if people worked because they loved it? Very few people I know does what they really, deeply, want to do. What’s your dream project? Is it the current project you’re working on? If not, why not?
A few weeks passed.
I had started looking at jobs again. The area I live in has terrible wages and my past job was pretty much the best salary I could find. Maybe that’s why that company went bankrupt a year later, who knows. Not really knowing anything else I decided to start freelancing my services to my past employers and also online via oDesk (now renamed to Upwork).
The next two years were interesting ones. I juggled between a few clients from the US and from a few other provinces (I live in Canada). Got to deal with my own banking, communications, accounting, billing, speaking multiple languages constantly, etc. Very enriching experiences but the worst part was to maintain a constant discipline so I stay focused on working. The urge of exploring my own ideas was always present. It was literally hard for me not to work on something else but I had to. You know why? Because it paid the bills.
It was all about the bills and playing it safe.
Don’t get me wrong, I got to work on very cool projects and fill pretty much all the positions imaginable. Designer, Marketing, Lead Developer, Project Manager, Support, Team Manager and I guess a few others I forget. I learned a whole lot of things I would have never ever learned in university or anywhere else. But the thing is, I was doing it all for somebody else.
I thought freelancing would give me time to work on my own projects but what it did is bring all my client’s problems at home. Slaving away my life all around the clock to fix somebody else’s problems while my own life was screaming for attention.
Multitasking is a myth.
Pick one thing and complete it, then go onto the next one.
Be a sniper, not a freaking shotgun.
Next up in part 2, I’ll talk about a trip to Cuba I did with my family that helped me recenter my life around what I really wanted to be and do. Thanks for reading!
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