Any author will tell you that release weeks are long, usually because whatever days off we usually have to recharge are sacrificed to the gods of productivity. In return, they gift us with coffee.
The fun of working for yourself at home is setting your own hours – as well as the video games during lunch. So I may have worked for ten days straight and missed a weekend, but now I get to take a three-day weekend.
I did worry in the beginning if I had the discipline to make self-employment work. When we work for other people or when we are at school, we are constantly expected to meet the targets that other people set for us. We can meet those targets for a solid month or longer, but if something personal happens and we slip for a while, it’s easy to feel inadequate and/or lazy. Especially if we have a particularly awful manager or teacher.
Self-employment taught me early on that there will be days that you do your best work at 100mph, and there will also be days when doing the bare minimum is a struggle. Both are inevitable.
Naturally, I would feel amazing on the productive days and worthless on the difficult ones, to start with. After a few months, I came to realise that the same amount of work was getting done regardless. Having several amazing days and several sub-par days will more or less equate to weeks of consistent work. Is it possible to have weeks of consistent motivation, mood, and productivity? Sure, but that gravy train is rarer than steak at a werewolf’s birthday party.
I realised that society at large has unrealistic expectations of human beings. While working for a company or corporation, or even a small business, our amazingly productive days set the standard for how our employers expect us to achieve consistently from then on. Our bad days become some sort of failing on our part, even if we’re dealing with illness or grief. There is no allowance for our human condition, which is ever-changing, subject to circumstance, and sometimes unexplainable.
I used to work with people who would proudly announce that they had never taken a sick day in their working lives. Not that they had never been sick, just that they hadn’t taken time off for it. Which of course means that they may have – and probably did – cause their colleagues to take sick days for catching whatever it was they refused to stay home for. Until my self-employment, I had barely realised that in the employment of others, we are sometimes conditioned to take pride in suffering through our work.
To start with, I stuck with this mentality and tried to power through the illnesses I suffered. But when it became obvious that not only was I suffering, but my work was suffering, I decided to take the time off that I needed and make up for it later. What resulted was greater productivity, and peace of mind on my part. I had no manager asking me if I was really too sick to come in while I nursed vertigo so severe I couldn’t stand up without falling over. I got to sleep it off, guilt-free, and jump back into it in the morning without any questions asked.
It shouldn’t have taken self-employment to make me realise that my health, both mental and physical, is more important than the opinion of a higher up. Sure, they make decisions relating to our work and have the power to fine us, but that’s the beauty of labour laws. You can’t fire someone for taking a sick day.
Take care of yourself first and foremost, because nobody else will, even if they are signing your pay-checks.
Thanks for reading! Get your copy of my new urban fantasy romance, Valkyrie Cursed, here!