Self-Employment - Confessions of an Office Speedster
People always tell me I'm fast.
My friends, my family and my colleagues:
"You're too quick!", "You need to slow down", "Stop replying so quickly"
I always felt like my speed was an issue.
I'm impatient. When I see an email I'll reply to it immediately.
I'm rushed. I speed through tasks and never look back before I move onto the next one.
I'm stressful. I expect the same speed from others and get frustrated when they aren't as quick.
There were things to learn from the feedback; taking my time to make sure my accuracy was higher, being more patient with others who have a different working style, relaxing more outside of work hours and spending time on myself.
I started scheduling email responses to keep my boss happy that I wasn't being too quick. I took more time aside to check on my colleagues and offer help. I extended my self-planned deadlines by a week or two. But finding a way to slow down became a job in and of itself, and my work performance started to decline. Slowing down made me feel tired, disorganised and unhappy.
Gradually I began to realise, my speed is my strength.
I'm efficient. I find the most time effective way to approach things.
I'm reliable. I will always respond ASAP to emails and phonecalls and build great relationships with contacts because of it.
I'm organised. I always have a plan of action but I'm quick to adjust if the situation changes.
When given a task I quickly run a task triage list in my head and assign it a place. If the task is quick I'll get it out of the way immediately. If the task is mentally draining I'll put it early on in the day so I can take regular breaks. If it's something I don't like doing I'll make a game of it by setting a timer and challenge myself to a speed test. If it's something that will make someone else's life easier I will do my best to finish it before the deadline.
I spent a lot of time thinking that I didn't deal well with authority. But my issue was authority wasn't dealing well with me. I needed someone as fast as me and willing to push me. I needed someone to keep my engagement up by varying tasks and give me the flexibility to work to my own rhythm. Someone to trust I would get the job done and leave me to it.
I needed me.
After 6 very stressful but life changing months of trying to bend myself to fit someone else's mold I decided I needed to make a change. I had to work for me.
In typical 'Speedster' style I went from dreaming of a company to having a company in 24 hours. 4 days later I had a fully functioning website. And one month later, I was handing in my notice and turning down counter-offers to start my very first contract position.
Jumping into self-employment was my way of taking back control.
And, I think that is the reason for a lot of those people working in the ever growing 'gig economy'. Though there is a lack of security and you can sometimes be on call 24/7, there is a freedom to choose work you are passionate about, people you are passionate to work with, and decide the best pattern of work for you.
Perfect for someone who marches to their own drum.