you become a professional cat herder. Seriously. I kid you not.
I was having a conversation a few days ago with an acquaintance (a friend would have known better) when they said to me, “Man, it must be nice to work for yourself. No boss, all the vacation time you want, whenever you want….blah blah.”
I could go on. I won’t. What I will say is this:
- I do have a boss. She is a bitch. I know this because she is me. She is the most demanding boss I’ve ever had in my life. She is always whispering in my ear about my short comings and how I could work harder…..”Do you really need to take a break to eat lunch? You could eat at your desk….or you could just get a cup of coffee that way you could still work…” “It’s not that late, you’ve got a few more hours in you.” etc.
- While technically I do “have all the vacation time” I want, I can’t take any. If I don’t come up with new designs, or remake well selling pieces, I’m sunk. If I don’t have enough stock to get through any two shows at any given time, I’m sunk. If I don’t stay on top of my custom work, I’m sunk. It’s a fight to get me to take Sunday afternoons off for D&D with friends.
Yes, getting to travel for work is cool, but it’s still work. You start out a each day of a convention or fair with plans on how you’re going to spend the evening when in reality, when the con is over for the day, you end up eating take out and taking a face plant in your hotel room. Being on your feet for 14 hours straight, on a concrete floor, being “on” with people all day, while listening to people’s opinions of your artwork and craft (most good, some bad) all day is draining. Not “I’ve been out in the sun working all day” drained, but more “my brain is no longer working as it should and is going to make me unconscious shortly…oh but wait, let me tear apart every comment made today about my craft…”
The ability to keep a straight face when someone tells you that their “8 year old niece could do that” or “I could totally do that” should be taught in school so you’d not have to learn the skill as a cranky 40ish woman.
Now, I’m not complaining, mind you. I worked too long in retail, factories, and restaurants to really bitch about this. I will say it’s different. It’s like being emotionally exhausted all the time. It’s all you. Schedule, Accounting, Human Resources, Sales, Design, Manufacture, Distribution, Facilities, etc.
I’m sure when I get a couple of more years under my belt doing this, I will come up with better processes and things should be a bit smoother.
If I knew then what I know now….I’d not change a thing. It’s been a hell of a ride thus far, and I can’t wait for the rest of the trip!