Thursday, November 19, 2015

Lesson Two: Time

As an employee, one of my biggest regrets was that I knew I was wasting my life. Eight or more hours a day were spent doing work I didn't care about. During the course of my employment, I spent more than 16,640 hours under someone else's control, trading my free-will for money. String those hours together and it equates to two solid years of my life that I spent mostly being unhappy.

As a self-employed person over the last year, I've worked an average of eleven hours a day. Monday through Friday I wake up at 4:30 in the morning so that I can be to the gym at 6:00 to train clients. After the gym, I head straight to the shop to work on my cars, and then usually head straight back to the gym to train more clients. With travel time it's not uncommon for me to leave the house at 5:30 in the morning and get home around 7:30 at night. 

As an employee, I had lots of free time for hobbies. I didn't need to be to work until 7:00 in the morning, so I'd get up early, train Muay Thai at the gym from 5:30 to 6:30, go to work from 7:00 until 3:30, go home for a couple hours, and then head back to the gym to train Jiu Jitsu for another hour or two. I also had plenty of time to read, write, lift weights, play music, or do whatever I wanted to do in my free time.

As a self-employed person, I'm lucky to train Jiu Jitsu once or twice a week. I don't have time to train Muay Thai any longer, and it's difficult to find time to lift weights and work out. As for writing, the idea for these posts was initially "Lessons I've learned after Six Months of Self-Employment," but by the time I was able to sit down and write, I'd already been self-employed for ten months. 

As an employee, my time was worth about twenty dollars an hour, regardless of what I was doing. Often times I'd be on the phone, taking a ridiculously easy call from a client, and playing "Clash of Clans" on my iPad. Some days I called in sick and still got paid. My work day began and ended predictably. Even if work was extremely busy, I rarely needed to stay more than an extra fifteen minutes, and I never worked on weekends.

As a self-employed person, my time is worth what I make it worth. If I make smart choices and tackle a challenge quickly and accurately, I can make fifty dollars an hour or more. If I make poor decisions and have sloppy execution, I'll work for less than minimum wage, or worse, I'll lose money. I'm also working in some capacity nearly every weekend.

Looking back, life was so much easier as an employee, but there's nothing I truly miss about it. Every day I drive by my former place of employment and I'm unbelievably thankful I managed to leave. While I don't feel I'm changing the world by rebuilding wrecked cars, I know I'm not wasting my life. I'm working towards a goal that means something to me rather than completing menial tasks for someone else. If that wasn't enough, training clients at the gym is extremely gratifying, and helping someone lose weight and change the trajectory of their life is worth more than anything I could ever earn per hour. 

Suffice it to say, as an employee, I spent a large portion of every day hating my life, but then I had the rest of the time to do whatever I wanted. As a self-employed person, I haven't hated a single day over the last year, even when they were terrible. On the other hand, my buckets of time are mostly filled with work which doesn't leave time for much else.

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