I am on track of an interesting phenomenon that’s important when working self-employed: you have to protect yourself from economic self-exploitation.

When being employed at another company, you might see your job as slavery. The thing however is, it is highly probably that your boss has learned that he’s got to treat his workforce not too bad, or their productivity will suffer and they will eventually flee and get another boss. And if he did not yet learn that, there is the state that will ensure that your work conditions are not too bad.

If you start to work self-employed, however, you still gotta learn exactly that lesson. You will have times where you’re quite stressed, by project deadlines and financial constraints, and then you’re going to load yourself with ever higher workload just to get through. You will work Saturdays and Sundays also, in the evening and night, not meet friends, not take time for eating as you was used to, nor for buying food if you start to miss something. If you have an IT job, you might be 9-13 hours at the computer a day, and will probably not do sports to compensate this; and after some weeks doing so you will feel your body getting badly off. In the end, you’re through with your project and perceive that it was not at all worth that sort of stress.

That’s my experience currently, and I do not want to repeat. In the future, I’m gonna keep projects apart with a big gap in between, so they will never manage to overlap and create stress … and if they do, I know that I’m not going to do both. The same with project deadlines. Make sure what are the really hard deadlines before starting a project, and simply do not accept if they are too constrained … keep in mind that miscalculations of plus 150% are not unusual in IT projects.

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