This post has been building for a while now, but has been hard to put into words...
It's been nearly a month since I stopped being an employee and wended my way into the big wide world out there on my own.
A few days before I left, one of my superiors came to say goodbye. They had been avoiding me since I handed in notice, had said nothing to me about why I was leaving or what my plans were. And what they did eventually say came as a surprise. When I expressed my thanks for the past year and a half, then hope for possible success on the road ahead, their only comment was "Hmph.. well, we'll see".
Framed as it was in conversation, it was a clear message that they didn't think I'd survive "out there" without a lumbering organization to help move me forward collectively. That they didn't think I had it in me to even try. And that I'd probably be back within a few months.
Their attitude and comments have been replaying over and over during the past three weeks. As surprised as I still am that they'd think this, I'm also a bit peeved at the lack of support and confidence, trust and faith in my abilities as a person to make a good go of employing myself (yet they assumed I had those same qualities available for company use?). It's an organization that encourages innovation (at least in mission and goal statement) among its employees. Perhaps that only works if you're innovating in line with the overall vision?
Nevertheless, the facts going in to this new way of doing things say something completely different.
While employed under their care I didn't just eat, sleep and work my paid job. I'm not one-dimensional, so I found myself involved in a Land Rover renovation after hours. When opportunity knocked (and Favourite Man's expertise found an outlet), I registered Cape Connect Internet cc as a business. When it knocked again, Virgin Earth took off and grew (often until 4 in the morning), until I registered it too as a business in November. Another brainwave while commuting, and Car Share South Africa was born. In between all that I wrote articles for a UK Land Rover magazine, did a bit of website design work and kept on blogging.
So here I am - working for myself with fingers in many pies, and they're not mere crumbs.
Cape Connect has a bank of servers, paying customers, websites hosted on our own machines for a variety of clients the world over. Favourite Man knows his stuff.
Car Share has seen press releases, with a few radio and magazine interviews (and will get a bigger shout-out & re-launch later this year).
And Virgin Earth is already the third largest e-waste recycler in the Western Cape. Yup, that's a big thing considering it's been done in my spare time up till recently (with a whole lot of help from Favourite Man).
"We'll see" indeed.
I reckon I may just prove them wrong.
PS Since I left off the desk job stress levels are way down - even though there's a lot more to stress about. I've got a "farmer's tan" and more muscles. And I'm having an absolute ball, even if I'm worked off my feet.