Working for the Yankee Dollar

If anyone had said to me five years ago that I would be packing beads most evenings for a living, I would have laughed, looked at them very strangely and politely suggested an increase in medication. But this is now the very situation in which I find myself, and not only that, I am probably working harder than at any time since I graduated university.

On Monday morning, I started work just after 8am, with the acknowledgements of the Ebay auctions which had finished overnight. With only a break for dinner, I finished my day's work at some time after midnight, when the last parcel of the day was sealed, addressed and ready to go into the post. Yet, despite the outward appearance of slave labour, why do I remain intensely happy, and why does the prospect of ever going back to HSBC fill me with terror?

The major difference is certainly in working for yourself, which means that you get to see the benefits of your efforts. Back in HSBC, if you got a job finished quickly and efficiently...you just got given something else to do, which is scarcely an incentive. You got paid, not for the effort, but for merely turning up, and so the general rule of thumb was to do the absolute minimum possible to get through the day. And that wasn't very much - doing nothing didn't seem to be grounds for getting fired, you had to be actively and dangerously incompentent for that.

Now, my situation is different. If I don't do the Ebay ads, no-one else will. Well, Chris would, but as she is currently got her own nightmarish battle against the force of darkness (a.k.a. a day job) to deal with, it seems only fair that I take on my share of responsibilities. Conversely, no-one else can take credit for what we do, such as our having more than tripled hits to the site in the past five months; a combination of Chris's good customer service and my judicious (and, so far, entirely cost-free!) advertising. We do stuff, we get the benefit - classic carrot/stick behaviour, basic capitalism at work, unimpeded by steering committees made up of middle management.

It is indescribably pleasant being your own boss. No more need to cower in fear, minimising your windows because you are sitting outside the God-Emperor's office. No more need to censor bad words from your email. And I can go to the fridge and have a beer whenever I want one. Not that I do...during office hours anyway. :-) Plus I get to hug my co-employee, though admittedly, this is something which I never really wanted to do back at HSBC anyway.

Seeing trashcity.com grow has been a source of immense pride and joy, to the extent where I now pour over graphs of visitors there far more than the orphan child which is this web site. I admit that keeping here going has taken a bit of a back seat recently, due to a sheer lack of time (both movies reviewed this week ended up being watched in multiple installments, fitted round the more financially-essential work), but it is to be hoped, if sales continue to go well, that Chris will be assisting me during the day, and we'll reclaim our evenings.

Till then, an hour or two of gentle bead-packing is hardly a chore, since it also works as quality time with my one true love. My fear - and this is one that has me waking up screaming in the middle of the night - is that it can't last, that the bottom is about to fall out of the bottom of the bead market, and that I'll have to find myself a McJob to make ends meet. After less than six months away from the world of bosses, Internet nannies and inter-deparmental memoranda, it's a prospect that I find myself more than slightly unwilling to face!


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