It’s funny really, when I quit my corporate job with my windowless office, I assumed a lot of things. I imagined a life that felt like summer vacation everyday and to be honest, my life sort of feels like that (I use “sort of” loosely, because that’s exactly what it’s like.) I remember those first few weeks, going to bed at night and not having to set an alarm and the way it made me feel like the next day was Christmas, as if Santa would appear in the morning, hit the snooze for me and tell me to rest my head because I now worked for the best boss in the world: me. While I can admit that the transition was easier than filling up an entire shopping cart at Target in ten minutes flat, there were a lot of things that no one ever prepared me for. I kind of wish there was a version of “What to Expect when you are Expecting” for corporate babes to read when they leap into full fledged entrepreneurship, but alas, there is no book and so this blog post will have to suffice.
The first days were filled with Real Housewives marathons, minutes spent questioning how I would fill each hour and painkillers (whoops, did I mention I had just undergone an extensive foot surgery? No? I left that out, well that explains the painkillers.) While I hopped around the house on one leg, I was filled with so much happiness and freedom that I missed the opportunity to really think about what this new life would look like. So here we go, an honest list of what it’s really like to be your own boss.
1.) You learn to talk to anything: dogs, oranges, the elderly next door neighbor. You learn to welcome any interaction outside of your own human existence because gone are the days of eating lunch with colleagues or office chatter. Suddenly you are five again, creating invisible friends and treating your dogs like the guy from HR.
2.) You might gain five (or ten) pounds: wait, what? This isn’t part of the diet plan? Well, you go from running around all day (sometimes in high heels) to a life that includes yoga pants (that never go to yoga) and a sedentary lifestyle that lives next to your kitchen. Friends, heed my warning, start working out again, you now have time for it and you’ll thank me later.
3.) You quit that 9-5 job so that you could work less, be with friends more, and chase those dreams, right? Well, get ready to work from 7-9… wait, that’s 14 hours, yup. Us entrepreneurs, we have an extra chromosome of hustle in us that forces us to become workaholics. The best part is that you’ll likely rather work 80 hours for yourself than 40 for someone else but now is your chance to mentally prepare.
4.) Life will feel like one big date from match.com. Suddenly you have no work friends, no reason to put on real pants, and you begin to question who the hell are your friends or if you even have any. Welcome to the phase of life where every interaction feels like an awkward set up from eharmony. Don’t say I didn’t warn you but I encourage you to nail down friendships before making this leap so you don’t keep talking to oranges (refer back to #1.)
5.) You imagination wanders to jet setting, hanging with celebrities, toasting champagne whenever anything awesome happens but the truth is you are now hosting company parties: population one. Get used to celebrating successes with a two minute dance party alone in bed (if you’re like me and work in bed) and crying through failures with a bottle of wine at 11AM alone. This is the life you chose, remember that one when you worked alone and no one cared about your blog that only your mom reads.
6.) Speaking of office parties, suddenly you are stripped of vacation time, employee of the month titles, and holiday parties. Woops, you did that to yourself but fret not. You can throw a random “work party” on a Wednesday evening with or without friends and sleep off your hangover that those two glasses of wine left you with on Thursday. Work will wait for you, don’t worry.
7.) “What exactly do you do?” used to be a question you could answer with some long acronym or title that you created to sound impressive but suddenly you are defending your career to the dentist while they drill through your teeth. You become someone who speaks in paragraphs, not sentences in order to explain what the hell your dreams are and how competent you are at chasing them.
8.) Your laundry will be a hilarious mix of spandex and cotton. Really, you will be so happy to ditch your uniform that you will forget (intentionally) that real clothes exist and suddenly your stack of yoga pants will be so high it tips over. Enjoy the elastic reality that you have whatever dress code you want and most days bras are optional (thank god.)
9.) You’ll want to quit (more than once.) Somewhere along the way you will question everything: the house, the job, the career change, the dreams. You will lay in a pile of tears all alone in your yoga pants and think that you can’t possibly go on. You will daydream of working at Walmart and how little responsibility you will have until you come to and remember that you are doing what you love.
10.) Speaking of what you love, you are blessed my dear friend, to have the guts and gusto to do what makes you happy. Remember on those tough days that this is all worth it. Put your happiness first, laugh when your friends think you live a glamorous life, and be grateful that this whole reality is yours and you have created it for yourself. Designing a life you love isn’t for the faint of heart but you, darling, are doing it and doing it well!