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A rant

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There is something about being self-employed, especially when one is working out of a home office that brings out the pettiness in people. It gets worse when one is a writer/book author.

People who are used to the 9-5 job lifestyle, don’t understand nor do they care to understand the 24-hour job lifestyle. They assume that since you are at home you are accomplishing nothing of importance. Thus, you have endless free time for lengthy conversation, lunches, afternoon movies, etc. After all, you don’t hold a “real job.”
They get angry when you have to turn down their invitations.

I have been dealing with this situation for years. Both my husband and myself are self-employed in our own businesses and work out of our home. Yes, we own businesses that we depend upon for income. Now, we are not independently wealthy and just pursuing hobbies. My husband’s income comes from his architectural photography business. Mine is derived from writing and instructing/performing dance. We have expenses like everyone else and our home-based businesses pay them. To be successful in life, one has to work. You either work for someone else or you work for yourself. Unless you have inherited wealth, life is not a free ride.

Friends and family don’t understand. Family members assume that I have time to watch television, shop, lunch and visit all day. Friends think that I can drop everything at a moment’s notice to join them in day-long fun activities. Sorry, I am working. How else do books get written and promoted? How else can I become successful and earn money?

One example is someone who was my best friend. One day I was working on a tight deadline. She called to ask me to join her for lunch and an afternoon movie the next day. I was working for a trade magazine and had work to complete. I honestly told her that I had to work and couldn’t join her. She went ballistic. She took it as a personal attack, a slap in the face. After all, a true friend would drop everything to join a friend for lunch and a movie (she was retired). I explained the situation but she thought I was making an excuse. After all, I worked out of my home and made my own hours. To her, the deadline could wait (tell my editor) but she couldn’t. She hung up on me and a twenty-plus year friendship was over.

Another good friend dropped me because I wouldn’t telephone her every day, join her for house sales, shop and lunch several times a week like her other “ladies who lunch” friends. I told her that I had work to do and couldn’t just take off at whim. Another friend lost forever.

Am I driven? Yes. Do I take time out for fun? Yes. If given advance notice so I can plan my schedule, I will join friends for lunch etc. Just not every day. Not every week. I am working. I have deadlines and obligations. Having a home-based business takes self-motivation and time. Heck, I often don’t have time to clean my house or garden yet alone go out to afternoon matinees.

I have found that friends who are self-employed and those that work out of their homes make the best friends because they understand the ups and downs of being your own boss. Friends who are writers and other creatives respect deadlines and obligations.

Writer friends, do you encounter this situation? How do you handle it?

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