I never had any illusions that starting my own business would be a simple thing. For years, I watched with admiration as friends and acquaintances took on various projects and activities, always seeing how much courage and willpower it took. My observations were always from the perspective of an employee, not as one who is self-employed herself. (That only started about a year ago.)
The last nine years of “employee life” were as a staff member at the University of Gastronomic Sciences, and they were especially intense. Nonetheless, I was lucky enough to enjoy the trust of my supervisors, and this allowed me to grow quickly, both professionally and personally. In that time, I had mPany different roles and responsibilities, which in addition to giving me much satisfaction, also generated sleepless nights, stomach aches, and anxiety of several kinds. Although I identified strongly with the university’s values and mission—and am still sincerely dedicated to the cause—I had to learn to disconnect completely from work when it was time to go on vacation. It was the only way I could care for my own space—the people, places, and things that were beyond UNISG.
As of October 2018, however, I became a “self-employed woman,” and the scenario has completely changed:
I am no longer the Master Programs Administrative Coordinator, which was much more than just a job title I held. It was a social role, a known position, a place of certainty. Now, the seemingly simple question “What do you do?”has become much more complex, fraught even. (I could write a whole book on this question.)
No longer do I have a fixed salary and steady income.
No longer is my time punctuated by contractual obligations. Instead, it’s entirely up to me to manage it, which is not simple.
And the success of my (our) project, MensCorpore Experience, depends for the most part on me (us). There are no scapegoats on whom I can place the blame for failures or at whom I can direct my frustrations.
Given all this, you might well be tempted to ask: Then why did you do it?There are many answers, but overall, I’ve never been so confident and happy with a decision. Yes, I experience moments of pain and fatigue, but these are mostly due to uncertainty. And yes, I am experimenting in a new world, in which there are many variables that I do not control, and even more that I still haven’t encountered. Yet for these same reasons, I sense that I am growing. And this, for me, is a source of pure energy. For now, I am still trying to learn ways disconnect when I go on vacation, but I know that will come in time. Stay tuned!