Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Fear and Loafing

As a freelancer, one of the things I'm finding hard to learn is knowing when I can enjoy time off.  The whole point of being your own boss is that you can work when you want to, right?  Only true if you're in the happy position of being offered so much work you can pick and choose...and maybe not even then.  Most freelancers would agree that you take the work when its coming your way.  Enjoy getting fat feasting as long as you can before the anxiety inducing famine arrives.  You can't complain if a constant flow of work knackers you out because you'll only be cursing your own whinging when the phone has stopped ringing.

A new feeling I've encountered is freelancer guilt.  On a day like today, when the Scottish lady from breakfast TV is promising 28ºC (28!), you'd think I'd be justified in going to sit in the park for a bit with a good book and a bottle of something cold wouldn't you? I mean, how often do we get days when its 28º?  Maybe, in 365 days we might get, what, 10?  In the office where I worked full time it was actually a blessing that we were positioned under artificial light, quite far from the window.  If my terminal had been closer I would have spent most of my day staring out of the window wishing I was outside and wondering how all these other people seemed to be able to enjoy it.  Didn't they have to go to work?

Even worse was the lunchtime break.  Kensington Gardens was always full of dozy picnickers, unhurried and languid, who could stay in the sunshine as long as they wanted.  My lunchtime hour always flitted by super quick, as if some Time God was looking down guffawing every time I checked my watch.  Often I'd wonder what would happen if I just stayed in the park and returned to a bollocking which I could keep in perspective.  It always ended the same way - it just wasn't worth the aggro.  I would return sulkily to the office, still dozy from prolonged exposure to a happy sun to slump over a terminal and clock watch until I was released into the seemingly endless light of the summer.

So now I'm my own boss (to an extent) and given that we don't get many sunny days like this one, I'm off to the park, which I'm going to try to enjoy without thinking about the state of my bank account.  There is support out there for those agonising about loafing.  If this post has rung some bells with you, take comfort from The Idler.

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