Piers Morgan likened his appointment to Editor of the Daily Mirror at the age of 29 to being a kid presented with the biggest train set you could imagine. I took a similar, although downgraded view of my own venture into self employment in 2006. Here was a big and occasionally scary toy that I could build something with. Big or small, it was mine to do with as I saw fit. I quickly settled into the long hours of the self employed and as the office was originally at home, my wife worked and both kids were at school, it was a solitary existence, particularly when the client list was still small. The role of office junior was assigned to the cat, whose ability to amuse me by chasing a pencil around the floor never ceased but whose filing and tea making ability was frankly, a bit crap.
But who was I. Previously, I left the house in the morning in managerial work clothes and became whatever title I had at the time. I came back in the evening, changed and was again Dad, husband, gardener, occasional cook etc etc. Now it was suddenly all jumbled up. I could be Dad and cook when the kids came home and Managing Director, accountant, web designer, secretary, and Independent OH Adviser into the early hours. More than ever, I was defined by my business and wondering if this was a good thing?
There is still a bit of me that would love to have a simple job where I turned up at 9am, did my bit and went home care free at 5pm to the rest of my life. However the rest of me knows that I wouldn’t reach lunch time on the first day without wanting to change this, reorganise that and get things done rather more efficiently than was happening. I also know from my work that many such jobs are rarely fulfilling.
The separation of Church and State, as my self employed uncle once put it, was helped by moving out of the house into an office. But now social media was taken over. I’m on twitter and facebook from the time I get up to the time I go to bed. I’m drafting potential blogs at all hours, while still trying to actually earn some income by fulfilling the main role of the business in advising other businesses on matters of health, at the risk of frazzling my own.
So what’s the point of all this prose. Well, firstly, boundaries and secondly the need to pause. Take stock occasionally. From reading his diaries, I’m aware that even Piers Morgan takes time out from his mad media existence and tweeting football related insults at Alan Sugar. So make time for the rest of your life and take time to turn off the phone, the PC and all the chatter, listen to the silence and focus on what’s really important. Like the rare footballers who suddenly stop in midfield, put their foot on the ball and take a few seconds to look at the options. They’re rarely tackled as everyone’s a bit surprised at the sudden hiatus. But the options become clearer and the impetus is with them