Today is National Bosses Day. I’ve worked for a LOT of bosses over the years. Frequently, I’ve been “bossed” by more than one person. Despite the org chart saying so-n-so was my supervisor, I’ve had people in positions above me insist that THEY had the right to dictate my priorities, draining my time and energy until I break down.
While I could go on about that, this post for National Bosses Day is a reflection of spending a year where I have been my own boss.
For much of the last 15 years, I have used my spare time to edit for writing friends. I enjoy the process of writing and editing. And talking with writers about writing. My favorite “unit” when I was teaching was the final one where I reviewed story structure, taught about a specific one (in particular, we addressed fairytales or the hero’s journey). I then coached my student writers through writing stories of their own. The energy in my classroom, usually during “testing season” that so often killed student motivation in other classes, was thrilling.
In June 2020, my classroom teaching came to an end. I decided I would not go back to the classroom. But what next? The pandemic was raging, so I investigated several remote jobs: customer service, mostly. I didn’t “feel” it, y’know? I’d done my customer service time: in my twenties and thirties. Now 50, and accepting of my introversion instead of fighting against it, I just knew that I would not survive the stress. I’d begun a new exercise regimen while we were all in lockdown, and I liked the way it encouraged me to shed stress (and pounds!)
I was back to my writing and part of a writers group on Zoom. People referred to me as an “expert” and asked me about writing and editing, and I realized I came away from those sessions energized in a way I had seldom felt before. It hit me this was what I wanted to be doing. Leading classes on writing. Coaching writers. Editing books.
So that’s what I did. In the year since I made that decision, I have been lucky enough to contract enough clients that my calendar is full, usually 2 months out. I make enough money to pay bills. I registered as a business, LZEdits, and set mid-range rates. I formally set up a Workshop and teach most weekends.
My “boss” is me. Well, maybe it would be more accurate to say my calendar is my boss. I live by it. I can tell a prospective client when I’m available. I have work hours AND time off, so my physical, emotional, and mental limitations are honored. I am consulted on what projects are accepted and which ones I pass up. I do not have to do it all, or risk being fired.
Yes, if I don’t work, I don’t make money. But my workplace is WAY better than any office in the past. My boss has set me up in a space that respects that I’m human. I do not have to do everything at once. I can take unscheduled breaks (though I still tend to schedule them). I have a workday that utilizes my most productive and energized times of day. My boss sets project deadlines after consulting my availability. She knows my work pace and doesn’t accept a contract that would push me past my limits.
I’ve even been able to take time off to handle family issues without being shamed as though I’m disloyal to my job.
My god, I love my boss. Have a bouquet!