I had an epiphany the other day. I was frazzled out of my mind, driving to my 5th Jazzercise class that week because I was undertaking their “30 classes in 35 days” challenge, and was on my second to last week, hating my shin splints but also proud I had stuck it out this long. I was trying not to let the heaviness of the stress of everything I still had to finish that week get the best of me. After all, I was running the editorial strategy of one of the (IMO) best digital marketing publications in the industry, relaunching my agency to focus more on strategy and SEO audits, and trying to be real with myself on where the last twenty pounds came from.
Then it hit me: I work two full-time jobs.
I had never really thought of it like that before, since honestly, I usually always still work 30-40 hours a week (work smarter, not harder). To me, it was more like two part-time jobs. But both could sustain me on their own, and many people, in fact the majority of people, do take that route and chose to only work one job.
Yet, here I was, Executive Editor-ing and marketing consulting at a ratio that made sure I got everything done I needed to. Sure, some weeks are brutal with 12 hour days, but other weeks allow me a couple hours at our neighborhood pool or an extra-long lunch with a friend. I often vacillate between taking on more clients than I can handle and looking for one or two companies I can start working with long-term. It ebbs and flows, either with the seasons, or with the wind.
And yet, even after feeling overwhelmed at times or even totally unsure of myself, after being on my own since 2011 (currently almost five years now, at the time I’m writing this), I wouldn’t change anything. I like owning a marketing company and running the editorial team of a major online publication. They play off each other: I recognize a mistake in an article I’m editing, because I had done research on that topic for a client. Or a speaking gig for SEJ lead to making friends (and eventual referrals) in the industry that have helped me maintain good income.
The variety of two jobs (and really, it’s more like 8 jobs, depending on the clients I have or what I need to juggle) has kept me interested in a way no other career has ever had. My editor gig (which is really so much more than that, as SEJ is like a family to me) is steady, so if my marketing clients wane (as they usually do around the holidays and the summer), I never have to worry. I have the freedom to redesign my company when I want and to stop taking on crappy clients that only care about how much something is going to cost them.
That stability of a full-time, flex-time job , mixed with the freedom of taking on clients when I want, has made me more happier than I’ve ever been. But it’s also made me stressed out.
What if I fuck this up? Who am I to deserve such a plum arrangement?
You see, not everyone gets to do this. The whole, flex-time, take on clients if you want thing. Sure, it’s becoming more common, but I still get those glazed alien looks when I try to explain that yes, I do have a full-time job, but I also have a company, and both are equally important and make good money.
Most people wonder why I choose to take on this much. I don’t really have to. Either of my roles could support me. But one without the other feels like I’m missing something. Like I could be doing more, but I’m not, because it’s not necessary. And for me (which, warning: there’s only one me so this may not apply to you), if I can take on more, and it makes me happy to do so, I’m gonna do it.
So while, after working two full-time jobs for almost 3 years now still hasn’t afforded me the benefit of nailing this whole “work life balance” concept yet, I know that I’m right where I’m supposed to be, growing and being frazzled and pushing myself and telling others to be awesome, because I know that if I could do it, so can they.
Image via Pixabay.