You know that feeling on a Saturday morning when you have a thousand errands to do, too many friends to see, a hearty brunch to eat, and a workout routine to adhere to, and you accomplish it all? That same feeling: accomplished, uninhibited, powerful- well, this is exactly how I feel about working independently, being my own creator and my own boss, building my own empire, and inventing my own projects, and this is exactly why I recently left my high-powered hi-tech job for a life of my own choosing.
And yes, I know, life is not a basket of roses: facets like fundraising, paying employees, staying on top of marketing and so much more, can make any independent boss lose their mind and pray for normalcy. But, despite the seemingly very long list of negatives, my deeply spirited and creative personality, coupled with my ability to multi-task and “get stuff done”, all while staying ahead of market trends, make me perfectly suited for working independently, and so much less suited for your normal 9-5 desk job.
It all started during my formative years. I absolutely loved the alternative subjects in school: creative writing, behavioral psychology, even gym- these were alternatives for a reason. Yet, I always had an adverse, guttural reaction to classrooms where the teacher taught and graded by-the-book, where there was no room wiggle room for creative thinking, and where the class was filled with ‘vanilla’ students, those that so cautiously expressed their run-of-the-mill answers. I have always detested the notion of copy paste. Being blunt- this description is word-for-word how I would portray what a 9-5 office job feels like to me. And, it’s not a shock that I held, and continue to hold such sentiments: my entire life my parents likened me to a cheetah- I had to get out and run- in whatever way the word “run” translated.
True fact: I knew I needed to create my own career when I realized what a penchant I have for taking existing songs on the radio and changing the lyrics to funny or rhyming ones, all in a matter of moments. The speed, accuracy and creativity I have when carrying out this act, coupled with my utter lack of “stage fright” in high-pressure situations make me perfectly suited for a life of my own choosing.
My brother is the smartest person I have ever met. (And the humblest). When we were growing up, he would memorize a textbook over a box of cookies. He is gifted, talented and can execute a perfect score on any exam, all while being able to accurately depict the political climate in 1400’s Peru. Yet, unlike me, he needs structure: bosses who dictate assignments and fact-checking platforms by which to triple-check his work before handing it in. My parents used to joke that if we were both dropped from a plane in a foreign land, my brother would know the chemical ingredients needed to distill drinking water, and I would build us a fort, make friends with the local grocery man, and snag some free bed linens- I’m more street smart, he’s more book smart.
Though the numbers have fluctuated quite a bit in recent years, just over 60% of 20’s and 30’s working-age city-dwellers would opt for a structured, ordered, 9-5 type work environment over being independent business owners or bosses. But, if you are like me and can’t sit still without tapping your fingers on your leg, there are a thousand alternatives to making a temporary living while thinking up your next big idea, and turning it into your career. Promise me one thing: don’t look back, and don’t cower when explaining your choices to others, for your next big success can only come when you are your truest, most unabashed self.