What If You Miss an Office Job?
If you are a freelancer considering looking for a stable job, this is for you
Two years ago I quit my fancy job in Berlin after I got absolutely overwhelmed with the entrepreneurial world, networking events, and tech conferences. I picked up my suitcase to go to Spain to follow my dream of being an actress and writer in the long-term, and of being light & free in the short-term.
I wanted to take an artistic break. I wanted to have time to write and read, and try to pursue my dreams. I thought that if I won’t be able to do it, I can always just go back to having a normal job (which deep inside I hoped I would never need again).
During this time I really took a big break, I had a lot of time to write and read, and walk, and dance, and I did enjoy it. I managed to push my artistic career forward, at least a little bit, and to survive as a freelancer.
I enjoyed working from home, finding my favourite coffeeshops, managing my time as I was pleased and not giving anybody any explanations about where and when do I work.
However, right now I just feel like I am not doing enough, and also that my freelance career is keeping me too far from inspiring people and new impulses.
I wanted desperately to stop working in an office but I miss the social part of it. I miss meeting people who are smart and creative, asking them questions that nurture me and learning from their experience. I love working from home, it just gets terribly lonely sometimes.
So I am back at the starting point. Obviously, you cannot have it all. There is no such change that does not imply loss.
The unknownness of my needs frightens me. I do not now know how huge they are, or how high they are, I only know that they are not being met.
What I know for sure is that there’s nothing that kills me more than feeling under-challenged. I can handle an overwhelming quantity of activities and jobs, but when I feel like I am doing too little — I get crazy. Usually, in those moments, I just take my backpack and go travelling/volunteering for a while and wait till my mind calms down. But right now due to personal reasons and the fact that I just came back from a month in Ecuador, I cannot go away again.
So I stay. But I need to find out what to do urgently. Would you agree that sometimes it is so freaking hard to find out the answer to the question: what is the next step, what should I do? The executing part is so damn easy compared to actually finding it.
I seem to have run in a great circle, and met myself again at the starting line.
I must admit I’m having this deep and terrifying midlife crisis while still being 25 years old. I keep thinking it is a midlife crisis because I feel that right now I am in the middle of my existence. Not in the middle of my life in terms of its length but in the middle of my existence, the years that I will live in the most active way.
At the university they told me that life goes something like this:
- You get a good education. You study abroad and have many extracurricular activities.
- You get an internship in a fancy company. You do everything they tell you and try to learn something useful.
- You try to become a low-level manager, you have a great Linkedin profile.
- After a few years you move up. You work 9/5 or more.
- If you stall, you move to another company for a better paying position.
I didn’t want this. I got to the internship point and spent just 6 months as an entry-level employee and then I run away. Okay. So now it goes like this:
- You’re a freelancer. You start doing work for free.
- You keep doing that for months.
- You can’t make ends meet or you’re feeling stuck.
- You get a job.
- You quit your job because you hate it.
- You start charging for your work and try again.
It makes it very difficult to be a person who is interested in many things because there comes a point when you just don’t know what it is that you really want. Nor what it is that you really need. And you suspect that they might not be the same thing.
The curious are always in some danger. If you are curious you might never come home, like all the men who now live with mermaids at the bottom of the sea.
Or the people who found Atlantis.
Existential crisis is like a storm that you need to face all by yourself. It is like standing outside when it starts to rain hard and you know there’s no one to save you or to borrow an umbrella from. So you keep standing and you walk through it and you hope that after it ends, you won’t be the same as before.
It’s a bit scary but what I try to think of is that when stars crash and collide, always new worlds are born out of it. In that sense, the crisis should be a transition towards something different (and hopefully better).
If there was a golden rule for things such as happiness or success, I suppose everybody would just follow it. But there is none. We don’t know what will succeed until it’s working. I personally don’t know what will succeed for me or for you until it’s actually working. I also don’t know how you define “success” because it’s a loose and broad term, with a deeply personal answer for everyone.
What I know is that I am asking many questions and searching for answers, writing to share my thoughts, and that together we know more than alone.
If you have any thoughts on freelancing vs. being an employee, please share below, I am very hungry for input!