The arrogance of self-employment

I find it amusing when the worlds I live in keep bringing up the same topic again and again. I hear these comments, that relate to this thing someone said a few days ago, then it comes up again over drinks.

Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about ego. About people’s arrogance, self-confidence & how certain people seem to think the world revolves around them. While none of these conversations were about me, I don’t pretend to think these conversations don’t come up without my name in them when others are having them.

This is a dangerous topic. It’s easy to misunderstand what other people are saying, the word “douche-bag” get tossed around more then needed, and everyone seems so busy pointing out the other dudes arrogance that their missing their own. I primarily try to keep my mouth shut.

However, I am going to step up here, and stick up for my fellow arrogant self-employed, business owning, arrogant douche-bags. Why? Because it’s not what it looks like folks.

A friend made a comment about the fact that it seems to take arrogant, slightly narcissistic people to run businesses. They’re right and I admit I have those traits. (I do. I just work hard to keep them under control. I feel like I fail regularly at this.)

Let me tell you the difference between the man or woman who runs their own business or freelances for a living and the guy who’s better off in a cube working for someone else.

They are good. So good, in fact, that they aren’t going to let someone else call the shots and screw it up. This is not cocky, arrogant or asinine. It is simply the truth. They are as good as, or better, then the next guy and there’s is nothing to be ashamed of in that.

Now, I understand there’s a place to be humble, but it’s not about the quality of your work or the amount of time said work takes. If someone who runs their own gig wants to make money, they’ve got to produce and produce at the top level.

Just because I, or someone else, is so busy with work, drinks with other people or wants to take a few hours to relax on their own for the whole two hours their going to get off this week, that’s not arrogance or rudeness. It’s life for us. There’s a level of acceptance that this thing is riding us, that we’re along for the ride, and that we’re just not going to get to have a “real life” like some people do, especially in the building stage.

So next time someone says they have to check their schedule, isn’t sure if they’re gonna make it to something or seems thoroughly distracted when you’re talking to them or won’t shut up about their work, give ’em a little grace. I recognize the frustration, I’ve been canceled on, put off, or rescheduled so many times in the last month that I couldn’t count them if I wanted to by people I care for and wanted to spend time with. But they’re busy and work comes first.

And when they are with you, they’re probably still working in some part of their brain, even while they’re drinking that third beer, and they’re giving up precious time they could be using to work or sleep to spend with you. They are making time for you.

And that’s the most precious gift anyone will ever give you.