When was the last time you got your hopes up over work? If you said today, or yesterday, you probably work for yourself! Working for yourself is a whole different story than working for someone else. All my life, from the age of 14 when I got my first job (making $1.90 an hour), I’ve gone to work, knowing that there would be work there waiting for me, and that a paycheck would come of it. Initially I never had to even concern myself with what the work was – I just showed up and did what the boss told me to do. Whether it was shelving books at the library, punching a time clock at the department store, or laying out a newsletter, the work just appeared on my plate and I did it.
Once I entered into my chosen profession and moved up the ladder to a management role I became more active in the procurement of work – writing proposals, costing budgets, attending client presentations and interviews, and negotiating contracts. That was when I began to see how much work was involved in getting work! It introduced an undercurrent of anxiety that had never been there before. Say what you want about cushy management jobs, the responsibility of bringing in work for the company and fellow workers is a weight on your shoulders as a new manager. I was suddenly much more aware of our competitors, much more concerned with cost-cutting and working efficiently. I think the junior and mid-level managers are probably some of the hardest workers in a company! We generally had very little budget (paid time) for writing proposals and the expectation that we would win a certain percentage of contracts hung over our heads (and was part of our employee evaluations). I won’t say I got my hopes up over work – but I sure did stress about it! We really did work for our wins!
As a self-employed writer/editor/proof-reader/archaeologist I do not come to work and find work waiting for me. And I don’t have any paid time to write proposals (query letters, marketing materials). I budget part of every day to attempting to find more work and frequently that is a larger part of the day than I spend doing the work I’m able to bring in. I’ve created, and maintain and add to, a database of potential clients, venues where I might market my skills, and places to look for leads. I send out query letters, resumes and writing samples. I respond to ads posted. And sometimes out of the blue I’ll be contacted by someone asking about my availability for a project. That’s when I get my hopes up about work. It’s a good feeling.