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Chronic Warrior Workers: Is Your Dream Job Really Your Dream Job?

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Does this sound familiar to you…

You say you want more freedom, less stress, less hoops to jump though in your work-life, but on the other hand, when you are asked what you’d like to do instead you come up with something that if you were to really think it through is often just as stressful, trying and involves just as many hoops to jump through… if not more?

This isn’t just a warrior-worker thing, but it’s even more vital to think about for those of us who have a less than normal life and less than full health. It’s why I get so wound-up when I see people making out like self-employment and working from home is the answer to every warrior’s prayers. For me it was, in so many ways. I thank my lucky stars for it. But it also brings with it a whole other set of worries and responsibilities that I didn’t have before.

The positives include:

  • Flexibility to work at the times that suit you.
  • There are less germs at home than in an office (this was the biggest plus point for me given that I only had to look at a sick person to get ill).
  • There are no sickness meetings, back to work interviews or occupational health appointments. No crap, rude boss or colleagues to make you feel small and inconvenient because of your health issues.
  • I get to hang out with my fur-babies every day.
  • I don’t have to sign my name in blood or take time off a million years in advance for hospital or doctor appointments!
  • Total autonomy to do what I want the way I want.

On those counts it is amazing.

What people don’t talk about however are the trade-offs you have to accept for those benefits:

  • The sheer panic that washes over you on a regular basis about the fact that you are completely dependent on yourself.
  • Talking to yourself. You find yourself desperate for human contact by about 4 p.m. each day.
  • Lack of fresh air and breaks. When you choose your own hours you also don’t get forced breaks, which are actually a very good thing. I sometimes look up and realize I’ve gone a whole day without real light and fresh air and forgot to eat lunch.
  • Autonomy. You literally have to become the expert in everything in your business. The I.T. stuff,  the marketing stuff, the creative stuff. You will look up so many YouTube “how to” videos it is unreal!
  • Forcing yourself to work when you don’t want to and have no one to tell you to.
  • Learning to do all your taxes and keep every receipt for everything.
  • Fur-babies don’t understand work boundaries. At least your unpleasant co-worker didn’t have claws and smell of tuna (well I hope not anyway!). They will not leave you alone and they will make the saddest faces at you that make you feel guilty.
  • The financial pressure is immense; pressure to earn enough, pressure to save enough for taxes, pressure to save for emergencies (no sick pay).

I’m not sharing this to put you off the idea of self-employment. I think for many people it is the right thing, often the only thing that works for you and if you do go it alone you can put strategies in place to make it healthier and less stressful. If you are a born rebel like me then you will have been trying to fit your round self into the square hole of a 9-5 for far too long and just don’t do well being told what to do on a good day, even less so on a bad health day.

But don’t go into it thinking it will solve all your problems, go into it deciding that you are willing to make those trade-offs, that those inconveniences and worries are for you so much better than the alternative ones.

Most of all what I’d like you to know is that finding your work-life happy place as a warrior is actually rarely about the question of working for someone else/working for yourself. That’s not the right question to be asking first. The first question is actually: What the heck do you want?

When we go back to the title of this article I asked, Is your dream job really your dream job?

The reason I ask this is most people think they know their dream but really they don’t for one simple reason:

You don’t believe you can really have what you really want.

Let that sink in for a moment. If you were honest about what you really want, your logical brain tries to talk you out of it. Because it’s not possible, because it won’t make money, because people with illness don’t get to have that life, because that employer doesn’t exist, that job title doesn’t exist…

…Says who? Who made those rules? You get to make your own rules. So ask yourself: If I could have what I want, if I was brave enough to admit to myself what I want, what would that be?

That is the right question to ask. It really doesn’t matter if you are working from home or in an office if what you are doing is sucking the very life-force out of you every day. So focus on what you love to do, the things you are great at doing, the things you would do every day and it not feel like work because you love them that much. Your work-life happy place is less of a place and more of a feeling, so find what makes you feel happy before you try to find a place that makes you happy.

You can join my free community on Facebook at the link in my profile. Just click on my name.

Stay classy, warrior workers!

Getty Image by m-imagephotography

Originally published: April 11, 2018
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