Two Weeks In - Lessons Learned


It's been two weeks since I left my job, and I decided I want to commit to writing what I've learned so far about self-employment.

5. Time expands and slows down

Back at my office job, I was amazed by how warped my sense of time was. The days at the office themselves would seem to drag, yet full days would fly by and before I knew it weeks would be in the rear view mirror. It was like a cruel joke, where the parts of time you wished moved fast were crawling, and the parts you wanted to enjoy flew by.

Now, that's all changed and leveled out. Time has slowed down and while I left work two weeks ago, it almost feels like it was actually two months ago. It's wonderful, mainly because I love what I'm doing with my time. I hope it keeps up, but I also need to adjust. I used to be able to plan far into the future without issue because time moved so fast for me that I didn't need to be patient about it. 

4. Despite #1, time loses meaning.

Two weeks ago I valued Saturdays. Now I've already started to lose sight of what day it is and why it matters. They all kind of bleed together. I think this is especially the case because I had spent so many years working on the channel on weekends that to me a "weekend" was a blend of work and relaxing. Now that's every day. 

3. I no longer have the crutch of work.

For the full six months or so in which I was saving and preparing for this, I used my job as a crutch so much.

"Ah well I can't work on the D&D now, I have to juggle the channel and work. After I quit though, oh boy". It was a common excuse for me. I had to deal with producing videos for the channel and a full-time office job, so of course I couldn't do all of these simple and small projects I told myself I wanted to do.

Well here I am. No more office job, no more excuses. I spent this evening organizing and tagging 588 video clips for my b-roll library because I can no longer use my job as an excuse to put it off.

2. I find myself having to learn to have free time again.

This one probably isn't as universal, but it's happening with me so I might as well include it. I guess it also shows just how all-encompassing I made the channel since I started it five years ago.

I don't know what to do with free time anymore.

I got so used to coming home from work to work on videos, that my weekly free time was usually limited to an hour or two on weekends to play games. If I went to the movies I usually had to plan a week or more in advance to rearrange my work schedule. A week long vacation? Forget about it. That required a month or two of double work to prepare.

I lived like that for years, and so now on the days where I actually have hours of free time, I find myself using it by... working some more. I actually can't play single player games for longer than 30 or 40 minutes before I start to feel guilty, as if I should be using my time better. It's the same reason I only really watch hour-long TV shows while doing casual channel work, because I struggle to just sit there and only watch TV for even that long.

The only exception to this has been playing Player Unknown's Battlegrounds with my friends late at night. That game is clever at making "a few quick games" turn into hours. I guess the socializing we do is what masks it. 

In any case, I'm slowing reminding myself that it's OK to do nothing sometimes.

1. It is 100% worth it.

Seriously, in the past two weeks I went from almost regularly muttering "Ugh I don't want to go to work tomorrow" to wishing I didn't have to sleep because I wanted to stay up even later to work more. 

I went from being tired all the time from juggling everything to finally being able to get enough sleep to feel human. 

Most importantly, I know what it feels like to do what I enjoy for a living now, and it's fantastic. There are minor drawbacks for sure. At this point I'm really focused on living within my means again, and I need to re-discipline myself into being an adult who goes to sleep at a normal hour, but they're so worth it.

I'm bracing myself for the cons. I mean there must be more. I keep telling people I'm still in the honeymoon period of all this because I believe I am.

In 24 hours I'll be getting on a plane to head to Disney World for a week. I'm bringing my laptop with me so I'll try to get one or two shorter posts in while I'm gone. Maybe after that trip the realities of this whole thing will sink in and perhaps in another two weeks I can touch upon the unforeseen downsides to self-employment.

Until then, I'm enjoying this.