I remember an exercise in self-inquiry I participated in once that asked “What is the title of your dream job?” My response: world benefactor. The job description is still a work in progress. As a natural-born writer trained in the law, I turned to freelance editing while my children were young, so I could work around their schedules and be able as I could to act as a community “safety net.” I feel fortunate to be able to do what I love – helping other writers get their message out there as clearly as possible – while also being the go-to person when a sick child (or spouse) needs care at home, or the school needs a field-trip chaperone, or a friend’s car breaks down and she needs a ride. I also believe that my family’s carbon footprint is a lot less than it would be had I commuted to work instead of working from home for over a decade, and I can feel good about that. That said, I must admit there have been times in my working life when I have felt like the Pinball Wizard’s silver ball, being bounced around the machine by the flipper-fingers of forces beyond my control. Running one’s own business represents an American dream of freedom, yet at the same time, when one has no backup personnel, one may never truly be free.
Such is life.
If I had to choose one drawback to being the perennial independent contractor, aside from the lack of employment benefits, it would be a feeling of being disconnected from a sense of community attached to the work I do for pay. My children are nearly grown now, I am no longer on the front lines of their lives; and I find myself with time to evaluate where I am in terms of my career. In a quest to illuminate my path forward, I recently became certified as a hatha yoga teacher and have been taking advantage of opportunities to teach in local studios. Regular yoga practice helps me feel more grounded and hopeful as I move through my days – I highly recommend it to anyone – and teaching offers me even deeper benefits. It is clear to me that my motivation stems from a desire to be of service in an organization that has a mission greater than simply growing the company for profit (as important as that is). It is time to tilt the machine and aim the ball at that highest score.