Encore: Volenti nihil difficile

Encore: Volenti nihil difficile

Two words: work avoidance. Anyone else out there suffering from this? Being on my own (mostly) as a freelance worker spans the gamut from the most wonderful moments to those times when I want to tear my fingernails out without an anesthetic. Actually it’s not that bad. I hyperbolize for dramatic effect.

But seriously, there are moments when one is not sure where the next “paycheck” is going to come from. Or, you are so pressured that you don’t know how you are going to get through certain periods. Then there are the in between moments – the ones where you are just okay, cantering along at a tolerable pace. And then of course there are the days when you work avoid – doing everything possible to convince yourself you are working by doing menial tasks or the non-descript ones that don’t really need a-doing but you do them in order to avoid having to tackle the big stuff. Buying stationery or packing the shelf in the office, having a nap because that too is important if you burnt the midnight oil the night before…that type of thing.

A friend asked about all of the above the other day.

Her questions were about discipline, especially – something she finds extremely difficult. What is it like, she asked, when you do not work for a boss? Actually, I do when I am busy with specific projects but when the project is complete, they are no longer my boss. And I like that. And I often hope I impressed them enough to want to work with me again.
The person wanted to know how I get up every morning, often staying in PJ’s, and only walk no more than 20 paces to work (to my computer) and how I manage to “get it all done”. Do I even manage to get it all done? And, how do I manage to not want to watch TV all day long; or go shopping all day long; or go to the cinema rather than do my work?

My answer: It is HARD work! Had this been 20 years ago I probably wouldn’t have been able to do what I am doing. I would have been out shopping or sitting watching TV, not aware of what the value of time is.
But at my age and with the economy the way it is, I have no choice! At least I am able to work – and I am able to work on things I really want to work on…and for that I am truly thankful. There are infinitely more positives than there are negatives about doing what I do. I save on petrol as I only need to do 17 paces and not 20 (I counted for the purposes of this article) to get to my desk. I don’t have colleagues who irritate me.

I work when I want – don’t have a regular nine-to-five (which could be a negative as most people think you should be awake when they are and asleep when they are.)
They can’t understand your lifestyle – the fact that every day is a working day or that any day could be a holiday…or that you might be able to go shopping at 11.20 in the morning!

And, even though the two dreaded words at the top – “work avoidance” – do play a huge role in my day-to-day life; and to organise yourself constantly, with a daily “to do” list can get a little tedious some days; I wouldn’t give this kind of life up very easily. I like the fact that I am mostly the master of my day, and that I don’t have to be part of the morning (or afternoon) traffic and only have Saturdays and Sundays to look forward to, to rest or for time with family and friends.

And I know I don’t have a pension that some company has pre-determined I should have at a certain age that is waiting for me. And I also know that it is a difficult life that I have chosen in many respects and that perhaps when I am a little older, I will have to take a regular nine-to-five. Until that time I will humbly eat the pies thrown at me, and work my gut off to make a living.
I attended Harold Cressy High School where our school motto (in Latin) was: “Volenti nihil difficile.” Translated, it means: “Nothing is difficult if you try.”

rafiek@mweb.co.za