Cheese, Conundrum, and Dodge Ball
Last week was my last week at my day job, you know the one I quit with absolutely no plan in place two months ago… I should have known that my two-weeks notice would somehow multiply itself as the hunt for my replacement trailed on. In true southern style, I wanted to make sure I did the right thing and gave a new person the start they deserved in a job that really had no checklist or guidelines to follow. But even picturing myself in my head, the master juggler, gracefully floating to and fro from office, home, makeshift home office, and back again, I couldn’t reconcile that vision with the real life picture of a young whoever racing frantically to the office every morning, spilling obscene amounts of coffee along the way, then rushing through the day to get to my new “makeshift” office (which I envision to be the local winebar with dark corners to hide my dark circles, where I could meet and pontificate my new business venture with my unsuspecting new business partner). And finally, speeding through a meeting filled with discussions of operations agreements, business plans, and other less than amusing business chatter, to skate through the front door of my house into my familiar comfort clothing to feed and water those bodies who depend on me. Yes, I had a plan and that was enough to bring some solace to an obsessive mind, but treating my life like a sporting event just wasn’t working for me anymore.
I did another hard thing, or hard for me anyway, and actually sat down and admitted that I actually couldn’t do something. And I gave my last day and I worked my last day.
My husband and I have a running joke in our house now about my recent dive into unemployment. We walk into Publix, I eyeball the $10 apricot cheese that blends perfectly with my glass of Conundrum, and my husband says “EH-you’re unemployed.” He mentions grabbing our favorite hibachi and cowboy roll take out for dinner, I say “pull out the ramen, I’m unemployed.” I’ve always had a job, in fact, there were times in my life I had three. As a teenager in high school, I was the girl who showed up to school in a Red Lobster uniform all because it made no sense to dirty up a perfectly good outfit when there was work to be done in the very near future. So I strutted my loud, purple, fishy covered shirt like I was a walking aquarium. And as soon as I was done working my shift there, I did a switcheroo and presto, I was now a walking palm tree covered in shades of green, red, and blue for my job at the local recreation center. I felt like a chameleon most days.
So when I woke up last Friday on my very first day of being at home, with no specific dress code assigned to me, I was somewhat confused. Ok, I know I am not unemployed, but I have to say, I think swimming in the self-employment water is much scarier.
It reminds me of the movie Dodge Ball, not that I have ever actually watched that movie from start to finish, but I get the idea: funny storyline laced with raunchy humor and at the core, people get volleyballs thrown at the them. And no matter how many unfashionable sports pads they wear, let’s face it, they are getting a ball thrown directly at them. It hurts.
Perhaps you will visualize that scene and swear off ever venturing into business for yourself, maybe if I would have thought of this analogy beforehand I would have too. But being self-employed so far for me is like a big game of Dodge Ball. No, there haven’t been any huge mishaps yet. I haven’t completely bombed a job or made myself look like a fool, or maybe I have and I just don’t know it, which counts. But in this world, no rules apply, your clothing of choice may or may not help you, and you pretty much just have yourself to depend on, the hibachi and apricot cheese are dependent on YOUR return for YOUR investment.
And what’s most surprising, and maybe most uncomfortable, is that all this time with yourself will actually reintroduce you to yourself. I am all about getting to know other people, so much so that when I travel west or north, people look at me like I have three eyes as I dose them southern syrup sweetness. I’m not near as excited about waking up and saying, “Well good morning Tara, let’s start the day!”
At times when I’ve been talking to a new client I even catch myself beating around the bush about my new business, sounding as if I’m starting a new hobby like scrapbooking or gardening. Saying I’m doing this, I believe in this, owning a vision is much more intimidating than even a game as volatile as dodge ball.
In moments like this, I feel a snap out of it moment coming on where I truly think it is beneficial for me to take the ball and hit myself with it. I can be scared, intimidated, even discouraged, but if I want the cheese and wine reward, I better get working.
Image from http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/fox/dodgeball/