Following my final bout of having a Big Girl Job in 2008, I determined that I am, in fact, unemployable. It’s not to say that I don’t possess the necessary skill-set to be a perfectly useful worker robot. What I am saying, in fact, is that even though I’m a perfectly useful worker robot, I’m also a miserable one.
If you put me in an office that I cannot leave, I will hate the job and watch the clock. And, more often than not, will find ways to get my work done as quickly as possible so that I can peruse the internet instead of doing anything further productive.
If you create expectations that I have to be at a desk at a certain time until a certain time, in spite of my productivity, I will quietly resent the job and — to a lesser extent — you (the only exception being my stint in career counselling).
Just because you live entirely in meatspace, doesn’t mean that I do. Just because you live entirely in cyberspace, doesn’t mean that I do. Give me balance. Give me serenity. Do not confine me.
And so, sadly, even though at twenty-four I have quite an impressive resume, I am entirely unemployable.
Marching to the beat of my own… madness?
My great-grandfather owned his own mechanic shop and raised countless foster children alongside his biological ones. My grandfather ran a successful wholesale business for the better part of forty years (probably more). My father currently runs a technology consulting business where he specializes in small-business networking solutions.
Entrepreneurship runs thick in my veins.
But these men struggled with their entrepreneurial pursuits, driven by a palatable need for success and financial solvency. Each of them needed to provide for their growing families. Each of them worked long, hard hours in order to find that success. For my grandfathers, it came at a cost: their health and, in the case of my grandfather, healthy relationships with family.
For my father, he couldn’t put a price on the happiness of his family. He didn’t want to go down the road his father did, where money became the only important factor of becoming an entrepreneur. So when we struggled and marched forward anyway, we did it because we believed in him. When times were tight and we were broke, we shrugged it off.
It was only money.
It wasn’t love. Or health. Or happiness, for that matter.
When my job and I split in 2008, I didn’t have those dreams for myself. I wanted something stable, secure, and with a regular paycheque. I wanted to be able to afford to go on vacations with my family. I wanted to go shopping when I wanted to. I wanted to live a relatively care-free existence of financial solvency right out of the gate.
But it didn’t happen.
I found myself in flux, where I had the ability — and the discipline — to make my own rules and march to the beat of the Entrepreneurial Drum. The only variable, of course, was determining if I had the lady balls to make it work. Did I have the confidence to run my own show? Or was I going to let fear rule me as I had let it rule so many other decisions in my life?
Screw it. I’m doing it my way.
I half-expected my parents to choke at my decision of starting up my own business. They half did. Mostly, they saw it coming. They’re intuitive like that.
There was a pattern of behaviour in each of my jobs, throughout the time that I was traditionally employed.
Get hired, enjoy getting to know co-workers, settle in, fall into a deep lull of unappreciated output (because, quite honestly, that is the life of a code monkey), become depressed, struggle until I finally find something new, rinse and repeat.
It was exhausting.
It was also completely pointless, as I’m about as unemployable as they get.
- I hate meetings. I find them to be pointless and useless. The only meetings that I enjoy utilize laughter, coffee, and/or Skype.
- I live for variety. If there’s none to be had, I will create it with business projects.
- I like beach days. And shopping days. And mental-health days. Guilt-free.
- I’m not a fan of being told what to do. I never had a problem with it as a teenager — I was a model student — but as an adult? You did not just tell me that this slice of project needed to be done before I left work today. Oh, you did? Well then. I’ma get this done real quick and then leave on time. Just to spite your ass. Dick.
- I like being able to pick and choose my clients. They grow from client to friend to part of my family.
- I need the freedom to set my own goals and limits. If I determine that I can take on many clients at once without passing out and dying, then that’s my decision. If I need a break, then I make that decision too.
- Finally, I need to know that my exit strategy is “burn this muthafucka to the ground and start something else”. If all else fails, the phoenix will rise again. And so will I.
Not many people strive to achieve unemployability. The exit strategy of heading back into the 9-5 grind is tantalizing and safe. I know that no matter what happens in the next five months, there is no going back to safe and warm and meek.
There is only forward.
I only hope that my son (did I mention that we’re having a boy?) will share my fire and shake off the confines of traditional employment as early as possible. Might spare him the heartache. And the backache. Oy.