derring do

Not such a random picture... sometimes all it takes is the confidence to let go and be free

Derring do: Daring or reckless action.
Misinterpretation of earlier derrynge do
misprint of Late Middle English dorryng do, daring to do,

When I read Julie's latest post, moments of perfect clarity: in which she doesn't dare, it really resonated with me. I can identify so strongly with her wondering whether to live off her own creativity or to stay tied to the (often false) security of a job.

But sometimes all it takes is a bit of derring do. A leap of faith that you can succeed, and if you don't, at least you will have tried. A bit of action, that is not always as reckless as the definition may imply.

I remember when I started my own business. It was a jump in the dark, but I did have a bit of a push. The person I had been working for (and who I still respect immensly) had started making unreasonable work demands. The end result was that I sued him (successfully!) and was left with the option of returning to work as a journalist for a daily newspaper or finding a new path for myself.

Starting out on your own is scary. I had worked as a freelance writer before, but I never really regarded it as a proper job, and I always drifted back to the safety of the newspaper, with its fairly regular hours and a guaranteed pay cheque at the end of each month. I think I hold the record for the number of times that I resigned from Independent Newspapers (including when it was still called the Argus Company) ... eight times!

Admittedly twice were because I had babies and there was no such thing as maternity leave then. 

I remember resigning for the second time from the Pretoria News. The then-deputy editor Dennis Cruywagen (who had been a close friend for over a decade) gave me back my resignation letter, saying "Take out all the stuff about why you are leaving. Just say 'I resign' because you might want to rejoin the company!" He was right, and I did, twice more (so far).

I think the difference this time, is that I defined the move as something more than just "going freelancing". I told myself I was starting a business, and I have referred to Of Course Media as "my company" ever since.
And the difference is clear. I am not the only one that takes me more seriously!

Julie's post, and the comments that follow it, made me think about the kind of person that starts out on their own. I remember phoning a colleague after I started my business and excitedly telling him "Vernon, I'm working for myself now!"
His response? "You always were!"

I think that's so true. I was never a corporate drone, and often kicked against the company rules. I always tried to see if there was a "better" way of doing things (even though management never saw things the same way as me!). But perhaps, most importantly, even if we work for a company, we still work for ourselves. We still get up in the morning and do our work as well as possible. We still make decisions and choices about attitude and how we present ourselves to others.

So, now both Greg and I work for Of Course Media (Greg is a pastor too, but that comes with no salary, no financial reward). There is no guaranteed income every month (although I do have a couple of retainers at the moment).

But was there ever really a guarantee before? I think that working for a company gives one a false sense of security. You are still just one pay cheque away from unemployment, as many people learned during this last recession.

And the name of our company reminds us every day... of course you can!


julochka said…
oh wow. i needed to read this. and i'm so glad you did it as a post of your own and not just as a comment. i may have to write something more myself.

thank you for this.
Gel van said…
Having started my own company three years ago I agree the satisfaction is immense. I earn far less than I did, but I do things my way, as they ought to be done.
Maybe I've always been a control freak?
Lynne said…
ha ha... just noticed that the cloud above ben's head looks like a rubber duckie... and how perfect is that! The difference between flying free and being something that bobs around in someone else's bathtub!!

Yes, Gel van, being a control freak helps... at the very least I need to control myself (and not ever, ever go to work (across the passage) in my dressing gown!
Elizabeth said…
Great post, just some more food for thought.

Popular posts from this blog

inspiration in a coffee shop

9 things

standing room only