Work is often seen as self-fulfilling for many individuals. And for good reason, we live in a society that values the work and excessive investment of employees. On the contrary, work is still less, giving more importance to leisure and personal fulfillment, a form of passive idleness …
However, the increasing number of burnout cases and the search for personal and professional meaning for a certain number of active people invites us to re-examine our relationship with work. As an entrepreneur, I chose for 5 years to put my business at the service of my way of life, by accepting to earn less, but to live better.
Thus this article is a response to personal awareness and condemnation of the excesses of alienation through work, and the dangers of confusing our individual value with our professional accomplishments.
Work is seen as value: the trap of reductive, guilt-inducing vision
In our Western societies, we tend to place the value of “work” at the center of personal and professional achievement. But what is the value of work in concrete terms? Does it merely refer to a well-defined fact?
In France, the culture of attendance is deeply rooted in the minds of citizens: staying up late at work is appreciated, because it is seen as an act of dedication and earnestness.
For their part, remote workers are still seen as the humble unemployed to watch.
Sure, the cartoon was pushed a bit, but behind the cliché remains a background of truth.
Today, work is seen as a value, a form of alienation, which has been accelerated by strong social pressure to work more, to exist more.
However, we can consider work as value, without spending 10 hours behind the computer.
By adopting a new angle, we can find ourselves in the value of working differently:
- By working to feel the benefit;
- working to occupy his time;
- Working to commit to a project close to our hearts;
- By working to climb the ladder of an ambitious career.
In short, social inclusion or conforming to a social standard of achievement through work is not the only way to make work a strong value.
Personally, I am deeply involved in my work, but I do not associate work with time spent behind a curtain. On the contrary, in an efficiency approach, I prefer to work faster, less time, while striving for more impactful results.
Work today is considered valuable, because it is a means of being in our societies in search of greater compatibility.
But everyone is free to associate their values with work.
This is why the value of work is pluralistic and personal.
And there is no conflict with some daily laziness.
Free time: How do you regain control of your daily life?
Since I was an entrepreneur, I have never stopped setting my freedom as an absolute value.
Today, I am even more convinced of this when I look back and observe my surroundings. In fact, by comparing my life (in spite of myself) to the lives of some people I meet, I realize how free I am:
- free to work or not;
- Free to drop everything and set out to conquer the world;
- Free to have no dependents (children, parents or employees);
- free not to be rooted in a territory;
- the freedom to exercise between noon and the hour;
- Freedom to schedule medical appointments during the day;
- Free to go on vacation, pay me a massage, or buy a new phone;
- free me first;
- the freedom to free myself from social pressures and compliance;
- I am free to disobey an authority that I do not consider legitimate.
Of course, freedom alone does not do everything and cannot give life its full meaning.
Certainly, unrelated freedom can lead to great loneliness.
Admittedly, the freedom I enjoy has reached its limits.
But this post is not intended to showcase my personal successes.
It aims to show that at your level, you can take back control of your freedom, reclaim meaning, or pleasure in your everyday life:
- by giving yourself time, so that you don’t forget yourself, even if you have to get up early or go to bed later (you already ran at 6 a.m. or 9 p.m. when you were employed, after or before a hard day’s work);
- by assuming you’re selfish to put you first and reject family, professional, or friendly requests (I’ve already declined invitations to birthdays and even a wedding);
- By rethinking the time/money equation and realizing that you will save more in the long run, by keeping to yourself now.
And how do you regain some of your freedom on a daily basis?
Conclusion: the signs that you are made to be an entrepreneur
Before I went on my own, I had noticed some warning signs of this need for independence.
In 2014, while serving in the civil service in a municipality, I had trouble accepting the heavy and never-ending process of validating emails and decisions. Teleworking was forbidden for me, to my great regret, and I was always a victim of forgetfulness, the fatal boredom syndrome at work.
In 2015, I accepted a small advisory mission on the topic of sustainable mobility, in southern France. This assignment linked office and field work, but entirely remote work. I felt free and responsible for being reliable, without confining myself in an open space.
In 2016, I started my first real job in Organizational Structure. The very hierarchical performance, the culture of the attendant and the childhood of the staff made me quit after a year and a half from the start.
If you feel tight in your structure,
If you can’t take the initiative,
If you can’t stand the present,
If you can’t stand the power,
But if you know:
- independently manage your organization;
- building an ideal working environment;
- Accept the fluctuations of your cash flow;
It is a sign that another future is being made for you. Certainly more mysterious, but perhaps more stimulating.
You’ve come to the end of what a job can do for you: What if you try entrepreneurship?