Last night I wrote about the impending cold snap and severe weather for Houston. Since I grew up in Chicago, I still smile that in Housotn, the mere thought of a snowflake is enough to send the gravel and de-icing trucks out onto the highways as the city grinds to a halt. As I’ve watched people whine and marvel on Twitter and Facebook, I have come to appreciate this weather as an opportunity to recalibrate, so to speak. Three day weekend? Commute too dangerous? Schools closed? Rolling blackouts? The cold weather is a chance for people to do what they would REALLY like to be doing, but don’t have permission — or courage — or opportunity — to do ordinarily.
I’m amazed at how many of my former students, now teaching in public schools, seem to want nothing more than to NOT be teaching. I’m amazed at the amount of complaining that gainfully employed people do — as if they are ashamed to have the amazing provision of a job, and a wage or salary, a means of exchanging time or expertise for money. I am fairly certain that entrepreneurs and independent business people complain for a different reason. A day of bad weather means a day when people aren’t walking through the door. Entrepreneurs, like me, never really have a day off. Even if clients can’t get to me, I’ll be working to create new offerings, creating content for the web, and otherwise creating value for existing clients, and enticements for new clients to find value. I may sleep in a bit tomorrow, or take extra time to make a nice breakfast, but I will be working tomorrow — and happy and grateful that I have work to do. I have a few problems to solve tomorrow to be in service to my clients. I have reading and research to do, which I love — and a long day with no set appointments is a wonderful way to get that done in an easy and thorough way.
I think that once a month, at least, everyone should take a day to do exactly what they want to do. Get your nails done, do some serious (not recreational) shopping, tie up loose ends, get into pajamas, get some rest, work on some kind of project that makes you feel really good about yourself and the real contribution you make. We’re running on an energy deficit, and an extra day once a month to get caught up on personal stuff would be advantageous for employers in the long run.
As businesses increasingly devote themselves to maximum return on investment for stockholders, and ever less to the well-being and long term loyalty of the people who work for them, entrepreneurship becomes a better option for growing numbers of people. What you give up in security, you gain in autonomy and self-determination. Tomorrow, snow or no-snow, the life I want to live goes on.