It has been said that time wasted isn’t necessarily wasted time. When you have to pay the bills, it isn’t so easy to apply that theory.
When I first went freelance, I was naive to say the least. I’d just quit from a full-time editing job that I hated and I proudly announced to my friends “I’ll have time to do the things that *I* want to do”… But in the (nearly) two years that I was freelance, I didn’t spend nearly as much time working on my own projects than I hoped I would, because I was working a good amount.
This led to a fairly significant problem – I never spent a lot of time working on selling and marketing myself, and I didn’t spend time developing myself. By that I mean my skill-set as an editor, my hobbies, interests, nurturing my ambitions and working on my own projects. The justification is always the same, bills need paying – no getting away from that right? Well maybe so, but it’s a short-term mentality.
The point of all this is to suggest that there should always be a time that you sit down and take an honest look at whether the job is good value for your time? My experience is that the lowest paying jobs always cause the biggest problems. I didn’t make very much money from them, and they often weren’t the kinds of jobs I’d want to shout about. I wonder how things would have been different if I’d turned down those jobs and spent that time working hard at either finding better work, or working on a project that would have been creatively fulfilling for me that I was the author of?
As it turned out, I joined Twist and Shout, I absolutely love my job right now and I know how lucky that makes me. And from time to time we sit down and talk about the kinds of work that we want to be doing, which I’m hugely grateful for despite the fact that most of the time we’re already doing it (the only pity is that we usually can’t share it)!
To turn down work so that you can work on personal development (or company development for that matter) is a big leap to take, I’m well aware. But I’m also aware that those are the only leaps worth taking.
Thanks for reading, let me know what you think in the comments or on Twitter.