Saying you’re sorry and actually meaning it seems to have developed a whole new meaning lately. I’ve read countless articles in men’s and women’s magazines alike warning against apologizing. I’ve seen so many blog posts championing the ‘times you should never ever apologize’ mentality. Bloggers and columnists are telling us that apologizing for certain things can show weakness, or worse, could cost us ‘winning’ an argument.
Now, maybe my Canadian is showing, but I fail to see how admitting you made a mistake and feeling a bit of regret for effing up is a sign of weakness. Or that winning every argument is the most important thing when it comes to conflicts.
Sure, apologizing is not always the most comfortable thing to do in the world. It can be awkward. It can be hard to admit you’ve made a mistake. It can leave you feeling vulnerable, and as a general rule, we humans do not like that so much. But sometimes, a genuine, authentic apology is the first step to letting go of your fuck ups, of working through hurt feelings and, most important of all in my opinion; an apology requires the reflection on a situation that helps you learn from your mistakes.
For the last few years, I’ve been freelancing. Being a freelancer isn’t all Starbucks coffee runs and working from your bed while you marathon TV shows on Netflix. When I tell people I work as a freelancer, I always cringe a bit, waiting for the inevitable comments and questions… That range from mild curiosity to things that make me want to Hulksmash. Here are some of the frequently asked questions and comments I get about freelancing — and my responses to them.
How do you actually get any work done?
It’s called the desire to not be homeless. Because if I didn’t meet deadlines and get work done, I wouldn’t be paid the pretty, pretty money that helps me pay the bills. It’s amazing how motivating that can be. Not to mention the fact that as a freelancer, so much of your job comes down to making awesome relationships with awesome clients so that they will hire you again and refer you to their friends. I’ve always worked hard to do my best work, but when you freelance, the pressure to be your best sky rockets. You learn to focus, buckle down and not only get the work done, but make sure it’s your best. Because there really aren’t any other options.
It must be nice to work from home!
Yes, it can be. It can also be the worst thing ever. There is very little home-work separation. I find it’s really hard to end my day, because my work life and personal life live in the same place. So yes, while I’m working, I can use my work breaks to do chores around the home, it also means that there is no home life-work life separation.
Be honest, you don’t actually work full days, do you?
I rarely work a traditional ‘full day’. Sometimes, I work sixteen hours a day, sometimes I work four. Freelancing gives me the opportunity to set my own work hours, to an extent. Sometimes, I don’t have the work volume that requires a full work week, sometimes, I feel like I need more hours in my day to meet deadlines. If you enjoy the chaos of having your schedule in constant flux… Hashtag freelance.
I’d love to not have to face my coworkers everyday– You’re lucky!
I find sometimes freelancing can be incredibly isolating. When I’m knee-deep in an assignment or contract, I don’t get out much. I don’t readily have people to brainstorm with or collaborate with. It can be lonely. That’s actually the one part of freelancing that has really surprised me– I actually miss the comraderie and energy of having coworkers.
How often do you turn coffee shops into your office?
That tends to be a personal choice. I have some freelance friends who work out of a cafe, diner or coffee shop a few days a week. I don’t do it that often, mostly because I have trouble focusing in that environment. I’m much more interested in the people around me, the music playing, that bird over there… I do find it useful when I’m meeting with clients or need some normal human interaction with people.
Being your own boss must be awesome!
Okay, yeah. Being your own boss is kinda awesome. It’s also a lot of pressure and pretty damn scary. As a freelancer, and as your own boss, you’re basically responsible for every aspect of your work and your job. Landing new work, scheduling, managing complaints or challenging clients, collecting on invoices, juggling the finances– it’s all on you! So yes, while it is pretty awesome to be in charge of it all, it’s also equal parts stress and pressure. The perfect balance, right?
Do you freelance? Or want to freelance? Have you worked with a freelancer before? Tell me about your experiences, I love hearing all about it.
I know I say this every year since moving back to a country where it snows during the winter, but this has been the longest, coldest, most terrible winter, ever.
But seeing as I’ve decided to make this frozen tundra my permanent home even after enjoying the balmy winters of Perth, I’ve decided I just have to suck it up, create a winter survival plan and get through this season that lasts 6 months longer than it should.
If you need help getting through these terrible winters, I’m sharing some of my best winter survival tips today. I hope they help you make it through to the other side of one of Mother Nature’s crueler jokes.
Denial: For as long as humanly possible, deny the fact that another winter has arrived. Wear those sandals and spring jackets long after the temperature has dipped below freezing. If you ignore it, maybe it isn’t really there.
Get a winter appropriate wardrobe: Once winter has settled in, you do know deep down in your heart that it’s here to stay for six to eleven months, so it’s best to prepare for it. Stocking up on layers of long johns, singlets, long sleeve t-shirts, sweaters, parkas and wearable blankets is the way to go. At least you can feel warm on the outside, because your cold, frozen heart won’t thaw til at least July.
Subscribe to Netflix: Sign up for one of those streaming TV services. There are a bunch cropping up in Canada, trying to compete with Netflix, each with a more ridiculous name than the last (Showmi? REALLY?). I’ve stuck with Netflix, but any service that allows you to binge watch works, because you won’t be going outside for at least half a year.
Hibernate: Bears have the right idea: just skip the whole winter experience by sleeping through it. It’ll be like it never, ever happened.
Eat all the comfort food: Comfort food is different for everyone, but nothing helps you ignore the harsh, cold winters like baked mac and cheese or tomato basil soup.
Drink: Nothing makes me forget the sixty feet of snow, slick sidewalks and cold wind that chaps my face and lips than a drink. Hot chocolate, tea, or my favourite… whiskey. Nothing makes me feel warmer on the inside than whiskey.
Cry: When winter’s going into its fifth month and you just don’t think you can take another twelve feet of snow or another day of -40 before the windchill, do what I do: cry. Just be sure to do that in the warmth of your home so your tears don’t freeze to your face.
Think warm thoughts: Sunshine, beaches, summer, fire, David Tennant, Chloe Bennet, temperatures above zero. Eventually, those longer, warmer days will come back and soon we’ll be able to complain about how damn hot it is again.
Only nine days until the official start of spring! How have you survived this winter? Or are you one of those people who love winter (you weirdo)?
Making your own choices about what and when you eat
Making your own choices about where you work
My point is, anything is sexier than 50 Shades of Grey. Nothing is sexy about stalkery, controlling, abusive relationships, nor is it sexy to romanticize abusive, controlling relationships. It isn’t sexy to exploit a community like the BDSM one by using it to hide behind. And nothing is sexy about bad writing and horrible fan fiction.
So if you’re looking for sexy, for the love of all that is sexy, give 50 Shades of Grey a pass. You’ll thank me.
I’ve been pretty lucky thus far in my career to work for some pretty amazing people. Most of my experiences with managers and bosses have been positive, many of them remained mentors long after I was no longer their employee. But not all bosses are fantastic. Some are odd. Some are in the wrong profession. And some are just absolute assholes. They’re the kind of boss that doesn’t understand what leadership is about, have no clue how to foster a healthy and cohesive working environment, are unpredictable and unstable, and use bullying and fear tactics to keep control over their staff. If you happen to be one of the many people that have to face working for a terrible boss, I have good news; you don’t have to let your bad boss invade your whole life. I know this, because I am a Toxic Boss Survivor. Here are some of my own personal survival tips for dealing with a toxic boss. (more…)