Just because I don’t work a corporate job, does not mean I’m always free!

I left my corporate job almost nine months back. Now, whenever I visit my friends or family, I hear a few typical comments:

  • Wow. You are free now.
  • Now that you are free, can you babysit my kid?
  • Now that you are free, why don’t you take up some online courses or get your Ph.D.?
  • Now that you are free, you can plan for a kid.
  • Now that you are free, you can talk to us for a longer time.

Newsflash: Just because I don’t work a corporate job does not mean my time is always available.

I left my job for several reasons. One primary motivation was to focus on my creative work and think about starting my own company at some point.

I also dedicated many of my important hours to volunteer and give back to the community, manage a YouTube channel, write articles, and take major home-related responsibilities.

But even if that wasn’t the case, my time is still “not up for grabs.” In fact, it’s much more challenging since I no longer have someone else to plan my workdays for me. It’s all on me.

We are so accustomed to thinking that anything other than working 50–60 hours a week in a corporate job is a waste of time. It’s society’s “rules.” You go to college, get a job, get married, have kids before 30, live 20–30 years paying debts, and then retire. While that’s still a choice, it isn’t the norm. At least not anymore.

With hundreds of new refreshing skills and avenues to prosper, choosing a non-corporate path shouldn’t be judged anymore. That’s archaic thinking.

Having worked in a non-corporate, freelance kind of environment for the past nine months, here’s what I want 9–5'ers to know:

  1. No. I am not always free. In fact, I sometimes work way beyond 6 or 7 PM to complete my to-do lists.
  2. A lot of my time goes into planning. Which software to learn next, what should be my next topic for a video or an article, how should I develop my branding in the next 2–3 years, build a client list, collaborate, etc. All of this takes a lot of time.
  3. A lot of my time also goes into research. A 3-minute video or a detailed article on a specific topic that I make, on average, usually takes around 5–6 hours to compile.
  4. Just because I am doing things for free (for now) does not mean that it doesn’t have value. My passion is Environmental conservation and at least for me, it matters.
  5. Volunteering and giving back to the community is a part-time job for me. My partner and I decided that we would dedicate our time and money to give back to the community as a couple, and volunteering is a perfect way for it. Yes, it’s free. Yes, it isn’t a corporate job. That’s the whole point of it. A major part of my work-time is completely surrendered as an act of service.
  6. Since I do not work a corporate job with strict timings, I take care of most of the housework to help my partner.
  7. Yes. I do take breaks. Creativity sometimes take a toll, and breaks are important for me (or for that matter, anyone) to re-energize and bounce back. No. I do not feel guilty about it.
  8. Rather than assume, ask questions! In the past nine months, I have hardly had people really ask me what I was doing with my time. Converting judgment into curiosity can really help you and me.

In all honesty, the statements do not affect me (then why did you write an article about it? lol). With time, I have solidified my self-trust to pursue what I feel is essential for my Life, but these statements can be discouraging for someone starting new or trying to do something different than the norm.

For the new entrepreneurs (for lack of a better word), keep going. Use these words as a push to really live your most authentic life.

People who comment on entrepreneurs; ask questions! It may help develop a relationship and even encourage you to choose a different path if you ever want to in the future.

Check out my YouTube channel for inspiring videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBfUxVSxC0koxGSkwzVRYzQ

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Seethal Jayasankar

Seethal Jayasankar

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I quit my 4-year Oil & Gas related job to Volunteer in gardens & work in the field of Sustainability.