A Leap of Faith

I’m quite certain about one thing. That there are more advantages to working for yourself than there are to working for someone else. At least that’s the way it is from my own perspective. The main one of those is of course you get to think for yourself.

I can hear head scratching, so I’ll explain what I mean by that. Thinking for yourself goes way beyond deciding what shoes to wear today, or whether you’ll eat lunch out or stay in the office and eat it at your desk. It means making decisions that affect your life at every level, as well as creating solutions to problems as you go. You may say that you can do that when you work for a company, but I’ll say to you that you can only do that up to a point. The governing factor when you work for someone else is they decide what happens in a big part of your life for you.

For instance, its a cold and wet Monday morning and your alarm clock goes off at 6:30am. You have to get out of that warm cozy bed and get ready to do what? Go to work, of course. Same on Tuesday, same on Wednesday, Thursday, erm, yep, the same and oh, yeah, same on Friday. If you’re a glutton for punishment then it’ll be the same on Saturday too if your boss has convinced you to do some overtime for which you will earn a nice extra wad of cash. I know what you’d rather do, of course as the alarm clock drills its incessant shriek into your brain. You’d rather switch it off, turn over and go back to sleep, right?

Well how about going one better? Would you not infinitely prefer to not have to be woken up by the damn thing in the first place? Five mornings (or so) every week. Week in, week out until your two week vacation comes around. Which will pass seemingly in double time and before you know it it’ll be 6:30am and that blasted alarm will be catapulting your soul out of dreamland and back to the reality of another wet and cold Monday morning!

I know so, because that’s more or less what I did for more years than I care to remember once I’d left school and entered the ranks of the gainfully employed in the safest of financial institutions there was at the time, a good old bank! Well, 17 years later that changed and I swore I’d never work for a company again as long as I lived.

I broke that promise three and a half years ago out of necessity, but only managed to remain “employed” for about 4 months. Lucky for me. The “job” gave me the impetus to re-visit the Internet (which I had forsaken for life as a musician) whereupon I discovered that there was money to be made if only one could figure out how to extract it. Luckier still for me, I did figure out how to extract it and now make my living from it.

However, I have to point out something. That during my extra stint as an employed person, my alarm clock went off at 8:00am, I awoke to blue skies and warmth and my ride to “work” at 9:30am was on a coastal train on which there were always plenty of spare seats and that afforded me a glorious view of the Mediterranean Sea on one side and a spectacular mountain range on the other, pleasantly piped in to the sound of softly playing classical music. Now that’s what I call a commuter train!

If any Londoners are reading this after another dismal journey on the tube, then yeah I know, been there done that hated it and did something about it.

Ah, those last words may echo in your thoughts for a moment longer. I did something about it! yes I did. I quit that high stress job, got out of that rat hole and improved my life immeasurably. I get up when I want to, I start “work” when it suits me and because of the nature of my “work” I can leave it completely alone for a few days and it will keep on making money for me, because its mostly passive income that I’ve set the wheels into motion to produce. But that’s not really what this post is all about, so I’ll get back to the plot. Oh, yes… my new life here in Spain as a carefree musician.

Never mind I went totally broke at one point as the music venues started to dry up here on the coast, hence my need to seek gainful employment until I could resume my self-controlled life once again. I was living a life that a few years earlier I was in awe of, as I contemplated yet another Monday morning alarm clock awakening.

The point of all this is that I stopped working for someone else and started living for myself. Living, because its a whole different concept. I was ripped out from my safe cocoon of monthly company wages, company holidays, company benefits and of course the pension for when I got to that point where I stopped working, got bored and died 6 months later like so many do. My safety net was gone and that meant I had to think for myself on all levels, not just the financial ones. But with that need, came a freedom that I always knew I craved more than anything else.

“Freedom is paramount” a clairvoyant once told me of myself, long before I had decided to leave Old Blighty for fairer shores. She was absolutely right.

Maybe this is why I have to be my own person, why I cannot work for someone else and be happy or contented. Maybe my freedom to decide what I do in my way and in my time is what has made these past seven years fly by so quickly, because it is said that time flies when you’re enjoying yourself. I certainly have enjoyed my life here in Spain being the sole orchestrator of my own destiny. That’s freedom and that’s me.

Ok, I understand not everyone wants what I want, or life would be pretty boring. Most people I know are happy to work for someone else and can’t comprehend why I would not want to do so either. I’m fine with that. Each to their own. But there is one last thing that I have to say to that.

When I was a few years into working for that bank in the UK, I believed that I was happy and that I wouldn’t want it any other way either. But not everything is as it appears and sometimes it takes a leap of faith to really see what it is that you actually want from your life.

I took that leap and look where I landed!

Terry Didcott