Working on my own

22 Jun

For the past 12 months I’ve been working for a new start up based, for the vast majority of time, at home on my own with just my cat for company.

Whenever you tell anyone that you work from home their first response is “Oh you lucky bastard, I’d love that!” and when the job first came my way I had the same point of view…an easy commute, comfortable surroundings, relative freedom to manage my time, my way…bliss!

I think within the first month I’d come to realise perhaps the main pro’s and con’s of working on your own;

  • Pro: No colleague distractions
  • Con: No colleague distractions

Work-wise; productivity goes through the roof. The document that would normally take you 2-3 days to put together is produced in less than a day. You’re a document writing, spreadsheet preparing, report generating machine and it is rewarding!

In the same breathe I’ve felt that I’ve missed out on so much by not being able to grab a colleague and run an idea past them, wax lyrical about a new campaign, discuss the latest fad/trend or even just chat to and in any industry these are the things that keep you at your sharpest, on top of your game and aware of what’s going on.

Personally it’s been a bit of a journey for me too.

I’m a social being, I’ve always known this. According to the website My Personality, I’m 79% Extroverted (you can view my results here)  and apparently extraverts “enjoy social interactions and tend to be enthusiastic, verbal, assertive, and animated. They enjoy large social gatherings, such as parties and any kind of group activity. Extraverts are likely to enjoy time spent with people and find themselves energized by social interaction.” . I’d agree with 90% of that so I knew that working on my own would be a challenge. That said, I’ve always enjoyed my own company and have found a quiet solace to it…for a period of time.

My friends will testify, for the last year I’ve lived for my Friday nights…catching up with friends, a few drinks, a laugh, maybe a dance but always good company and a sense of belonging – when you can sometimes end up spending five days out of seven on your own, these moments take on a new found importance and I’ve grabbed each and every one of them with both hands.

For me I’d say I’ve gone through the following process (excuse the diagram, my old boss and a big influence on my professional life loved ‘em, and it’s kinda rubbed off on me) ;

I perhaps wouldn’t change the experience as I do believe I’ve come out of the other side a better person.  At times it’s dragged and I’ve probably experienced mild depression; soon knocked into touch after an hour or so with friends, a bout of Kung Fu or a run. But I know I’ve grown as an individual for it, I’m more comfortable and confident in my own skin than I’ve ever felt (and confidence isn’t something I’d say I previously lacked) and just downright happier…again something I’ve always had in abundance.

If I could try and put my finger on what its given me, I guess it would be clarity. Clarity on the things that matter most in my life; my friends, my health, my experiences and learning and an understanding that being on your own rarely means you’re alone…


3 Responses to “Working on my own”

  1. Alex Saxon June 24, 2010 at 10:40 #

    You made a diagram pointing out your lazy period. I don’t suppose you showed your new employers that? 🙂

  2. Neil Crookes June 22, 2010 at 20:30 #

    You’re a legend Mark, London is lucky to have you.

    • weeeeden June 22, 2010 at 20:39 #

      Thank you Neil, I appreciate the faith!

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