Most employers these days are under the impression that a measly 10 days out of 365 is an acceptable amount of personal time to give to their hardworking employees.
If you take two vacations a year, that gives you five days per trip.
Give two days per trip for travel time and that leaves you with two pathetic, but "allowable” three day vacations.
Three days that you probably still are made to feel guilty using…
Call me a dreamer, an idealist, call me freakin' crazy but….
I just can not find the appeal there.
And I sure as hell can’t find the drive within me to get out of bed and go to a job every morning that forces me to live this unfulfilling existence.
Why is miserably working yourself to death such a widely accepted—and sometimes what feels like the only—form of success?
What’s even worse is when people often comment on my pictures, asking me “how can you go on vacation all the time?” almost in a joking manner, as if to insinuate that I don’t do anything to provide for myself and just spend all my time galavanting the countryside.
Also assuming that its some sort of impossibility, unattainable by your average working human.
Honestly, my answer is a simple one.
It sounds sarcastic, even.
The same way people go to the gym, eat healthy, and do hundreds of other things that seem challenging but are extremely rewarding…I commit.
I decided 10 vacation days were not working for me, so I gave myself as many as I wanted.
It seemed impossible to me too…but, let me back up a little bit first.
I don’t want myself to sound like some entitled millennial (eye-roll at THAT terminology), I did not quit my job to commit to a life of lavish travels and care-free fun (that’s just a bonus).
I quit my job to start my own business, and hustle for no one but me.
To enable me to do the things I want, when I want, because the way I looked at it was this:
You’re gonna bust your ass for someone the rest of your life, that someone might as well be YOU!
The rewards. The responsibility. The almost constant demand. The sometimes really long hours. The stress.
In my opinion, no matter what struggles I would face alone as a business owner, it would be better than staying an under-appreciated, over-qualified civil servant for the rest of my career.
In the white-collar world, I got sick of working hard with absolutely nothing to show for it, save for an increase in responsibility, that was unmatched by an increase in pay.
Compliments don’t pay the bills kids.
Learned that one quickly.
I had this crazy thought where I wanted my income to match my workload (sooooo entitled).
After being given the run-around, first by my beloved, but soon-retiring boss (with a soon-retiring boss mindset aka I don't give a sh*t this place is not my problem anymore), and second, by his replacement—who had absolutely no interest in gaining working knowledge of the faces that made up office and therefore felt no obligation to give me a raise—I didn’t feel they gave me much of a choice, and my final request for a meeting with the “head-honcho” was to give my two weeks.
Which turned into one week.
One business week.
5 days and I was free.
The past six years, which breaks down to 12, 480 hours of my life, now stood, confused, in the rearview and I floored it the hell out of there, barely glancing back, with tears of both joy and fear rolling down my face.
Do you ever poison your motivation with expectation?
All those question we're asked as children, what do you want to be? where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I found myself fresh out of college, nowhere near where I thought I would be, still working the same job, and now, jobless.
But I’ve always been ballsy, a non-conformist of sorts, (don’t believe me? ask my mother, she’ll tell you!) so I was determined to make it work at any costs. I needed to kill the discouraging thoughts and center my focus elsewhere.
There was NO way I was going back with my tail between my legs begging for my cubicle.
So there I was, in the deep end alone, and I needed to make a decision, a commitment.
I committed to living and working for myself.
So I started my own business, Dakota Expediting-for hire on LI, NY, by the way! (If you're curious about what "expediting" is just shoot me an email and I will fully explain, email@example.com).
I love being a business owner. I love being my own boss and being able to treat my hard-working employees they way I believe every worker should be treated! The freedom is there, but they do not abuse it, they are grateful for not having to worry about taking a day off and therefore work EVEN HARDER!! (Magical!)
When it boils down to it, I'm on my own.
Sometimes that means I’m working twice as hard as you corporate folks, with an unsteady paycheck that depends on no one’s efforts but mine.
I have no one to blame when things go wrong, my phone is ringing almost 24 hrs a day, and my hours of operation don’t always fall between 9am and 5pm, sometimes I work a 5-to-9 instead.
I am responsible for my own taxes and health insurance and, now, of my employees.
If I want a savings for retirement, I need to account for that independently.
But my hustle is in direct correlation with my income, when one goes up, the other follows. And the freedom is so very worth it.
The challenges of running a business soon became the benefits, and all of my fears were dissolved.
And, sure, all of those perks of working for someone else build stability.
Health insurance for your family. A nice retirement plan. A consistent paycheck that arrives every Friday like clockwork
All the reassuring thoughts you use to tuck yourself in while gearing up for the next miserable 8 hours of your life were enough for me too…for a while.
I lived within this strange, delicate balance of comfort and misery, until the scale tipped.
Until I asked myself, why?
Why can't I still have of all that on my own?
Why can't I create my own stability?
Then, I simply reached out and took it.
Well, more leapt out.
Of a plane.
Without a parachute.
But man, did I learn how to build some beautiful wings.
Here are some things I have learned first hand about efficiency, and some tips on how I survived while I was still in the bi-weekly paycheck world:
-Mental health is everything. Mental health is also extremely underrated in our modern work world. Make it of utmost importance to yourself. WORKING YOURSELF TO DEATH IS NOT A GOOD THING. It's not healthy. Take off a day when you need to, no explanation needed. Call in to go to the beach with your book for no other reason than you feel like it, or to stay in and tidy up.
Leave the extra work on your desk and go eat dinner, on time, with your family.
Your boss will be mad about something else tomorrow.
The work will still be there.
Take care of yourself. It’ll never be good timing, but, believe me, it will be a good time.
And in the long run, everyone will benefit from it.
-The need for relaxation is also extremely underrated. Take that damn vacation.
Especially if someone else is still gonna pay you while you’re there!!!
And, screw it, extend your trip with a few personal days.
Make those memories, in the long run they are whats important.
There has never been a time I went on vacation and regretted it.
Can’t vacation? 5 minutes of meditation in the morning can start you off on a high note
and last all day long! Do this every single day, life will seem much brighter
and you will feel ready to face the world, (or just your boss)!
-Money means nothing. I’ll say it again. Money means NOTHING.
If you’re in it for the money, whatever it is, chances are you’re gonna feel like a failure forever.
There are many ways to measure success,
and a lot of them are far more important than financial gain.
-Organization is everything. That’s right. To me, organization is more valuable than money.
Organization CREATES income.
When I am organized, I am less stressed, more productive and therefore, more efficient.
I use Trello to keep organized for work! It’s totally free!