For the longest time I was under the impression that a “real job” was specific to a corporate office where you worked from 9 am until 5 pm and occasionally had a few vacation weeks you could take off. Ever since working in an office for 3 years and then starting my own freelance business my idea of what a “real job” is has drastically changed. There are a few notions about work that are instilled in us from a young age, such as making as much money as you can and always climbing the corporate ladder to some day become a manager or president. And while those are valid career goals, they aren’t the only valid path to take when it comes to how you want to spend your life and make a living.
I think that 2018 was the turning point for me where I realized that I was done coveting an office job as a way to validate myself and my aspirations. The person I want to be and the field I want to work in doesn’t lend itself easily to 9-5 office work and I’m slowly recognizing that that’s okay. Being a writer means I need the flexibility to create during the times that are optimal for me, often in the late mornings, early afternoons. Some creatives work better in the evenings, others at the brink of dawn—it’s different for everyone, but it doesn’t make it any less valid. When I was working in an office (luckily located fairly close by public transit to my apartment at the time) I would wake up at 6 am, get ready, make it to the office for 9 to clock in, and then spend most of the morning doing mediocre work because I was trying to wake myself up with a lot of coffee. And by the time the day was coming to an end, I would have to pack everything up, take about 45 minutes during rush hour to get home, and spend the evening only wanting to mindlessly relax after an early and exhausting day.
Now, let’s address the elephant in the room—yes, I was making a good amount of money in this job, but it never seemed to contribute to my happiness. I spent most days dreading having to go to work in the mornings and used my income to shop myself happy by buying things I didn’t need. I was more relaxed about my paycheque than I am now as a freelancer, but the environment I was in and the purposeless work made me consider quitting every day until I finally did. The office moving to a different city was just the push I needed to at least consider taking my writing more seriously. And, of course, there are days where I would love to see the same amount appear in my bank account every 2 weeks, but the realization that I can now do what I love most for the money I make is enough to keep me pushing forward with freelance content writing and finding new, interesting clients to work with.
For the first time in a long time I am accepting that I am done coveting an office job.