I guess this is more of a diary entry than a blog post. I wonder if there’s any difference anymore between the two. The world we live in demands a viewport into lives on par with the most intimate of accesses. It’s a race perhaps to see whose soul’s farthest reaches are on the fullest of displays with a global population running in concert.
It’s been over 10 years since I collected a paycheck from someone.
Over 10 years since I could fake working hard in my office. Or check out mentally at 4:30 and watch second hands spinning on office clocks down like some kind of rocket launch to 4:59:59. And then leave. And not care. Or think about what I was doing on the PC before shutting it down and closing out Microsoft Outlook.
Over 10 years since I could countdown to a vacation and not care about the fact that no one was doing my job while I was on vacation not doing my job.
Over 10 years since I collected a paycheck for weeks where my performance was mediocre, or sub-par. Weeks I phoned it in, as opposed to my characteristically overachieving self.
Some weeks since then – I’ve made a stupid amount of money. Other weeks – like this past week or so, I’ve made none. Not 1 dollar.
I am responsible for feeding 4 other people in this house.
If I don’t perform – those 4 people don’t eat.
I am responsible for people in 4 other families, as well. 5 if you count someone I’m caring less and less about for reasons I can’t get into.
If all of those people do their jobs – do them so well they deserve an award – we don’t make one dollar.
I am the “Sales” guy. Not them.
I did not go to school to learn how to sell. I don’t have a degree in anything remotely parallel or similar to sales. I’m an Engineer. Kind of. Barely even. So sales – marketing – all of it, it’s a foreign language to me. Spoken badly. (Bon Journow). And somehow we’ve thrived. Does that mean I’m a fast learner, or a good faker? Is there even a difference?
For 10 years, I’ve not had a boss. But me. And these 4 other people in my house. No performance reviews. No written or verbal warnings. No chance of an unexpected layoff or downscale. No overtime I didn’t want to or have to put in. No pre-approval required for any new ideas or risks taken. Ten. Years.
And I am tired.
I have big plans. Big dreams for this company.
I have customers who have taken something I made for them. An idea I had that was taught – and made fortunes with them. Paid for their lives with an idea that came from my head, was spoken to them through a computer screen – and absorbed it into their brains where it germinated and became a skill. Lots of those, in fact.
I never saw that coming.
I am tired, though. Especially on the hard weeks where the manna isn’t there on the ground in the morning when I go out with my basket. There’s nothing to eat- nothing to pick up and bring back to my tent to my family. A sense that we have been here before and will be here again, and to trust. Trust. Wait.
Everyone is encouraging lately. Other people in the company tell me I’m doing a great job. As good as ever, in fact. They are proud of me. My wife tells me that I will figure it out – and I always find a way. She trusts me.
But will I ever hit a wall? Will something happen that I can’t foresee – an obstacle I can’t overcome? Like when PanAm closed up and told my Dad there was no more job to come to. Ever again.
There’s no going back to the I have a job life. I’m sure of that. But what if this fails? This decade’s old experiment of mine. What if the ideas stop coming? What if someone bigger and better comes along. What if I falter in my faith, and the manna doesn’t come back ever?
No one else really understands that part. They see the guy who works from home, who rarely leaves his house or dresses up anymore. Who fishes from his orange kayak and goes to the beach in the summer for a week. It – this life – looks really good from a few hundred yards away.
Come stand here – a few inches away -and you can see my eyes are trembling a little bit now. My blood pressure is kind of high. I’m short with the people that I love who love me. I’m thinking about stuff. Trying everything, and doing what I know to do hoping it’s enough to restart the engine. Another week. Another month – year. Decade.
I am tired.