There are advantages to being self-employed. No office politics, for one. No blame games, for another. And I can work on the sofa in my dressing gown if I feel like it. If things don’t work out, it’s because I’ve done or not done something. The failures are mine. But so are the triumphs.
On the whole, I love being my own boss. Even on the days it gets a little lonely. Or on the days motivation is something that I seem to have lost down the back of the sofa.
But, as I was told over and over when I was thinking about going solo, that mix of freedom and responsibility is also what makes being self-employed a little tricky. When it comes to taking a break from the business that is. In the almost four years that I’ve been flying solo, we’ve managed a week here or there and a few long weekends, often with the proviso that I would take client calls if needed.
Now we’re planning to be away for three weeks, with little chance to attend to anything while we’re gone and despite having a solid checklist in place that I’m working through to make sure all bases are covered… well, my stress levels didn’t get the memo.
Funny thing, stress. I need at least some to function, but pile on too much and I start to feel out of control.
When that happens I reach for comfort… and my kind of comfort looks very much like Gareth Flynn’s. And since I’ve just finished the second round of edits for Ghosts I wasn’t at all surprised when, after a night of running to-do-lists in my head, I got up to… bake apple and cinnamon muffins.
So while I go to take deep breaths and sample the fruits of my labours, I’m going to leave you with a little bit of Jack & Gareth and an explanation that makes total sense to me:
“You don’t have to cook for me all the time,” Jack offered softly. “I can phone for a curry if you fancy a night away from the stove.”
“What?” Gareth watched Jack pick at the label on his beer bottle and sighed. “Jack, have you seen the state of my desk? I had to fire two people today for gross misconduct, and just as I was leaving Lisa called to tell me that the CPS may want the boys as trial witnesses. The only reason I didn’t collect five speeding tickets on the way home is because I was looking forward to making dinner.”
“I’m sorry I wasn’t—”
“Shut up. You were exactly where you needed to be. Frazer had it covered. And I wasn’t fishing for sympathy. Just… don’t ever… tell me not to cook.”
A smile crinkled the corners of Jack’s eyes. He raised his beer in a quick salute. “Noted.”
“Besides”—Gareth went back to his knife and chopping board—“you’re still far too skinny. So just sit there and swallow what I dish up.”