The best thing about being a self-employed writer

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be an actress when I grew up.

When I did grow up, and entered the world of employment, I achieved my ambition. Oh, I wasn’t paid to act – or not literally, anyway. I was paid to be a newspaper journalist, a press officer, even a call centre operator, but as far as I was concerned, no matter what my official job title was, most of my time was spent acting.

I would arrive at work in the morning and act like I was happy to be there.

I would act like the early mornings didn’t bother me, although I am far from being a morning person, and don’t generally feel human until at least 10am, and the second mug of coffee.

I would pretend to like and respect people I actually couldn’t stand.

I would say I didn’t mind staying late to finish that urgent press release, when all I really wanted to do was go home and get to be myself again.

I would sit in endless, pointless meetings and act like there was nowhere I’d rather be.

I would grit my teeth and smile when my boss asked me to work through my lunch break – again.

I would pretend to find my work interesting and stimulating, even when it involved answering the same questions over and over again, or covering the dullest committee meetings known to man.

In general, I made a living out of pretending to be someone I most definitely was not: a happy little worker bee who lived for the job and could think of no better way to spend her time than trapped in a windowless, airless office, earning money for someone else.*

These days? I don’t do a whole lot of acting

Oh, there are bits and pieces of pretense scattered throughout my weeks. Not being overly-fond of the phone, for instance, I have to pretend to be pleased every time someone decides to call me, or asks me to call them. And there’s the odd difficult client or advertiser who I have to pretend not to be frustrated by, but for the most part, I wake up every morning and don’t have to act like anyone other my myself. There’s an honesty to my working life that was sadly lacking before, and it’s perhaps the biggest reason why I’d never want to go back to office life. Well, that an the early mornings, of course.

I guess acting really wasn’t for me, after all.

*It had its good points, too.


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