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Blog 2: Work addiction..

After an Xmas and New Year that could be described politely as "challenging" and more realistically as sheer hell (how many burst pipes is a woman supposed to cope with before throwing in the towel and marrying a plumber?) I am pondering my relationship to employment. 
Many of us who are self-employed share a common trait: when we have work we worry about delivering satisfactorily. There is no-one standing at our water cooler to reassure us, to share the problems or celebrate the successes. So we beaver away feeling slightly anxious and dream about running off to become pig farmers or solitary yachtspersons. We think longingly of having a break with no deadlines, no emails, no phone calls. When that break comes, we become doubly anxious because we're not working. We hatch plans to generate new contacts, drop casual emails to people who might remember us or just sit quietly in a corner and whimper.  
A number of people have told me how lucky I am to work for myself. "You can work when you please," they say. "Take holidays any time you feel like it." These are invariably salaried employees. The reality of self-employment is that you rarely stop working or thinking about work. You become an addict, always chasing the next job, the next commission, the next pay cheque.
So why do we do it? Lots of reasons: the thrill when a new job comes in, the variety, the sense of ever-so-slightly living on the edge. The adrenalin rush when a client proposes a piece of work that looks exciting. Generally the positives outweigh the negatives. Though there were times over this long festive holiday when I wish I could have turned off my inner work monitor and just focussed on the mince pies.
Happy 2011 everyone. May it bring you good work, whatever you do.
PS: Note to taxman: posting tax demands so they arrive on Christmas Eve is just plain mean-spirited!