Tuesday, February 8, 2011

To B or not to B?

My old friend Morris used to boast that he never had a job a day in his life. He is a rich man. He started as a shick yingl—a gofer—for some successful diamond merchant, just hanging around, making himself useful. Soon he found himself ferrying around (to me, hearing the story, alarmingly expensive) diamonds in those little tissue tufts, matching up buyers with sellers, and soon after that he had an office and a partner of his own.

Pretty much everyone I knew growing up had a job. Actually the same job, just at different places and of different strata—teaching.

My Dad is a professor, my mother was a Kindergarten teacher; all their friends and most of my relatives had some university or school connection.

I got a GREAT job soon after college at a fancy NY Advertising Agency—I had decided that a classroom was too small for my outsized sense of my own imagination. I enjoyed every minute of those 15 glamorous years.

And now, here I am with my own business, starting yet another one, and this afternoon, Sruli (ever so lovingly) looked down at me hunched over the computer and said: wow, you really have bags under your eyes.

We were dealt a really bad blow this week and we have been scrambling and stressing and struggling to survive.

Bags? Suitcases I have.

Anyway, he also said I was being remarkably resourceful, and takke I am, and this after I “bitched out” at him for a full four minutes because there is nothing like a setback to make you re-examine your entire life, work, philosophy, and husband.

My old friend Morris said he could never work for somebody else. I could, happily, and I was damn good at it. But I’d be lying if I also didn’t remember that ice-cold fright at being fired, when layoff season rolled around.

And not just being fired. Also explaining the Ortho-have-to-leave-early-on-Friday thing. Each time. Finessing the politics. Jockeying. And not being able to say with certainty that you can make it to a family dinner, or home before your little ones’ bedtime.

I remember furiously cursing the red lights on Queens Boulevard because they were robbing me of another few minutes of evening with my little Zachary and Aaron.

Makin’ the Boss happy.

I don’t have that kind of stress anymore (and I don’t have that kind of money anymore, ha!) but the new stress is frankly overwhelming and all my new own-ur-own business friends feel it.

I am my own Boss. And I don’t always make myself happy.

And I still don’t know if it’s “better” to be In Business for yourself or to work for someone else.

Whatever “better” means.

I’ll let you know when I find out.

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