All that I learned by striking out on my own

This weekend, R and I complete a whole year of our relocation. And my entire digital presence is testimony to the crests and troughs I have had through this relocation madness. I am not going to repeat myself except just some closing thoughts on it – India makes me braver, crazier, more judgmental, more creative, more restless, more introspective, wayyyyy more emotionally involved in things that matter little in my everyday life, more compassionate but also more angry. And guess what, in spite and because of all of this, there is nowhere else I’d rather be. After much doubting and wondering and knowing, losing and finding faith but most importantly, losing it at customer service folks for a whole year, this is a really good place to be in. I am glad I am finally here.

But this post is about the things I have learned after finally, whole-heartedly giving in to the itch of never having a boss again after fearfully letting it fester at the back of my mind for more than a year. Why today? Because, and I say this very sheepishly, I have finally crossed a monetary landmark sooner than I expected. It was not really one of my top goals when I started out, but it has happened. While I am not one to need or use much of the money given my zero lifestyle aspirations (as opposed to convenience aspirations), I am shit proud of myself because this really was the last thing I expected.

Here is all that I have learned about myself in particular and this space in general, in just over three months. When it changes – and it will because that is who I am – you will find out. Even if you don’t want to : )

I run on solar energy

Because still can’t do shit after sun down. Just that now, I can choose what time I start and when I end : )

Financial independence is reallyyyy important to me

For all the itch I have to do something new every few years, and all the “kindness” of my fellow traveller (hehe), not making money is not something I can wrap my head around. How else do you pay the bills for things you use too? I don’t know if it is ego or my mother’s rigorous conditioning over the years, but I don’t believe in freebies. I don’t expect them and I sure as hell don’t give them away.

Everyone should work in an agency at least once in their lifetime

Whether it is about putting a premium on your time, juggling 50 deliverables in a day (my maximum has been 27), time management, people management, idiot-proofing, faffing (because everyone has to at some point, ok?) or recognising trade offs for what they are, agency life teaches you more survival skills than any other place in my experience. And I am talking normal jobs here, not the important ones like defence or, you know, the ones Jack Bauer had.

I don’t know anyone who is more disciplined than me

Sounds conceited? Well, I deserve it. In the absence of any dependency, whether the work is dirty or awesome, I haven’t missed a single deadline, personal and professional. Not that I did earlier, but that was always a struggle for the Type A control freak in me. Oh and the motivation! I need no feel good emails or pats on the back to get going or to keep at it. I haven’t had a single day when I had work to do and I didn’t feel like doing it. Of course I gave myself time off as and when I liked, but not at the cost of anything. And I am going to reward myself with some dessert this weekend for being the amazing robot that I am.

Freedom of choice has a lot to do with high moral standards

I don’t know if it is because of the regular, forced ethics trainings in my last job that I found really unnecessary at the time or it’s just growing up, but I have been brutally honest to myself and to people around me. Earlier, I made no bones about fake calling-in-sick when I worked full time because organisations that I worked for practiced zero flexibility no matter what they said in their HR inductions and interviews. In fact, when R refused to do it every time I asked him to, I found him too uptight. But it is truly refreshing to not have to resort to something like that, especially if you are someone who values your freedom and will grab it with both hands, no matter what the cost. Also, in this independent line, you truly come across all sorts. I have had some strange requests. Give a LinkedIn communications plan for a brand in order to “compete” for an influencer marketing campaign that I was “invited” to or a long rant about “entitled writers” from someone who was willing to pay me more than peanuts for some “copyscape proof rewriting”, for instance. I have heard PR agencies gloat about their “ability” to do Wikipedia edits (because rocket science amirite?). And clients are willing to pay for it too, almost always because of lack of awareness and not moral standards. But it is not the kind of trade off I need and it is good to have this clarity and independence for once. Saying no like never before – hell yeah!

The perception of availability is a struggle you just have to learn to deal with

I am in touch with people a lot more, and there is this strange notion that goes around that if you work from home, you must be available for middle of the week lunching and movies, rant and gossip, and such. In fact in the first couple of weeks, my own perception of flexibility was rather warped when I kept giving myself two hour Gilmore Girls lunch breaks. But I remembered soon enough that I am a creature of habit and structure and like I said, I run on solar energy. So it needed some doing and undoing. But finally, I think I am there.

Working from home is an incredibly lonely job

Even if you as asocial AF on weekdays. I have written all about it here.

But it’s the best thing I have ever done for myself

Because what can possibly be better than waking up each morning and wondering what amazing story, word, sentence, thought, memory or inspiration your brain will throw up today! It’s been lovely and I can’t wait to find out what more is in store. Go me!

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