Transitioning to Self-Employment

Today marked the end of an era. At three o’clock this afternoon – after twenty-one years, eleven jobs and five-and-a-half-years of working the same one — I went from being partially self-employed to fully self-employed.

Now this might not sound like a huge deal to you, but to me? I held onto that last vestige of working-for-the-other-guy the way Dr. Oz holds onto his one o’clock time slot: mercilessly and with a smidgen of desperation. Over the last several months, as my own business grew busier, working at the resort spa morphed from financial necessity to psychological security blanket. I had always worked for someone else! Was I really ready to swim in the choppy waters of free market capitalism while depending on a child-sized flotation device labeled LIPOMI’S BUSINESS ACUMEN?

I knew I’d never know if I never tried. I knew I was suffering from burnout while juggling ten-hour Sunday shifts at the resort spa, appointments with my own clientele, and managing my continuing education business to the best of my ability given the complete lack of residual hours in my day. I was also becoming increasingly aware of the effect that death and grief can have on a person (me). It became almost painful for me to be away from my better half every Sunday, and I didn’t want to get to the point where I resented my massage therapy career choices. I love what I do; it gives me purpose. I hope I never lose that.

For better or for worse, all signs were pointing to “hey Andrea, dump the resort spa job”.  This option was made even more attractive when I received some timely external validation from marketing expert Seth Godin by way of his book THE DIP: I was caught in a cul-de-sac. A dead-end job was taking time, energy and attention away from other promising projects that needed me – all of me – to succeed. I may be slow to process information, but after being bludgeoned repeatedly by obviousness in its most obvious form, I knew what I had to do.

The email was polite and to the point. I gave my manager a little bit more than two-weeks’ notice. I only hesitated for five minutes before hitting “send”.

And here I am! Sitting at a Starbucks just down the street from my former employer with a refreshingly recalibrated focus on what matters most. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so grateful for the opportunities that came my way while I was employed by other guys: steady paychecks, priceless experience, awesome clients, sweet coworkers, lessons, stories, inspiration and adventure…but all chapters must come to an end, and I’m really looking forward to experiencing this new one as it unfolds.

* Are you on Instagram and/or Twitter? Search for #AndreasLastDay to see more photos and videos from, ya know, #AndreasLastDay. *

An Open Letter to the Unscrupulous Complainer

DISCLAIMER: This post is not about legit complainers and their legit complaints, such as the legit fly in the legit bowl of soup. This piece is not intended to dissuade any reader from reporting an actual crime, nor is it meant to serve as a rallying cry for those who doubt the validity of accusations brought into question by ensuing biological processes. The situations mentioned are intended to be broad and lacking in specifics, yet universally understood. To be clear, names aren’t named, because there are no names to name. (Apologies to my voyeuristic friends, but do take heart: Somewhere in the world, right now, TMZ is harassing a former child actor from a two-season 80’s sitcom.)

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Picture yourself at the end of a long day of work. The fatigue, the satisfaction, the comforting knowledge that your family will be fed and the lights will stay on in your home because you spent the day away from them to earn a living serving others. You grab your coat, your lunch bag, and head for the door when you get a text from your boss: “Come see me in my office.”

Finding it unusual but thinking little of it, you make your way down the hallway to find your manager. You’ve been staring at this carpet for years; you like it here, and you intend to like it here as long as possible. Jobs like this don’t come around every day.

You enter the office. Your manager asks you to shut the door and take a seat, and proceeds to hit you with a heavy dose of WTF: You got a customer complaint today. A serious complaint. A complaint that calls into question not only your judgment, but your grasp of professional ethics, and the very essence of your character. A complaint that could cost you a week’s pay, your position with the company, and your ability to remain engaged in the career you’ve been committed to for years. A complaint your brain is struggling to comprehend – because it is 100%, indisputably, ridiculously bogus.

You are told to remain home for several days, pending investigation. The long days and sleepless nights that follow are sheer torture, and worry has spread to the rest of your family like a third world virus. What if you lose your job? What if you can’t get a new one? What if you can’t pay your mortgage? What if…?

Dear unscrupulous complainer, it’s quite possible that you don’t have a clue, so I’m letting you know that this is a fairly accurate description of what happens when you file a phony complaint, particularly in a larger business involving one-on-one consumer/service provider interaction. And what, pray tell, did you get out of it? Seriously, please leave a comment below, because I’d love to know.

I bet you didn’t consider that the innocent person you smeared is prone to panic attacks and racked up a hefty doctor’s bill, thanks to you. You probably don’t give a damn that the utilities didn’t get paid that week, just in case that career we’re talking about actually got flushed down the toilet you threw it in. I’m almost certain that you don’t care that this service provider is going to be borderline paranoid and overly cautious in every single business encounter he or she engages in for at least the next six months, if he or she is lucky enough to retain employment.

But getting back to you, because you’re obviously the only person around here who matters: Why did you go out of your way to do this? Was your wallet feeling a bit light this morning? Are you lacking the perception of power in other aspects of your life? Do you need to read a book about transference? I happen to have some good ones I’d let you borrow, if I wasn’t convinced you’d accuse me of inappropriate book lending.

— Andrea

 

Andrea Lipomi is a licensed massage therapist and esthetician who lives and works in Las Vegas, Nevada. She also peddles massage therapy ebooks and NCBTMB-approved continuing education courses at ConfidentMassage.com, will travel hundreds of miles for a fantastic spa experience, and craves dark chocolate and Depeche Mode’s upcoming tour dates on an almost daily basis.