Once, in the first few years, I felt like my job was more than just a job.
I was always struggling to make a living, but it made a real change from having some other fucker telling me what colour shirt to wear, and how long I could spend on the toilet. When I was working in factories and call centres, I had no real say, and no stake beyond my hourly rate, in what went on. I'd work hard at my job, because I take pride in what I do. It wasn't always so. When I was younger, I was happy to skive, but as time went by I found that people notice, even when you think they haven't, and that anyway, if you're going to do something, you might as well try to make a good job of it. I suppose it ties in with self image and depression and stuff too. There have been times in my life where I haven't had much pride.
Anyway, Karl Marx described the distance that capitalism puts between workers and the work they do as alienation, and for a while, I felt like what I was doing meant something. It was more than just a job. It was a vocation, and I'd try my very best to get the most from each lesson I did.
Over the years, that feeling has been slipping away. 50% of my clients aren't interested in the quality of service I offer. They just want it done on the cheap. They expect to learn instantly, but they don't want to have to work to achieve an understanding. I have to admit too, that I'm not always getting things right. Some of it is just chemistry and compatibility. My personality and teaching methods are brilliant for some people, but they don't work for others. Inevitable I suppose, and if I'm beating myself up over losing the odd pupil, then I too have unrealistic expectations. And sometimes, I just plain old get it wrong.
Still, I find it hard to maintain the enthusiasm I used to feel. It's all a bit stale. First time I went on my own, I kind of enjoyed working out how to build and publish a website. This time, it was something of a chore. The first thousand times someone found themselves able to do something they could not do before, it was hugely rewarding. Now it's just repetitive. No more mysteries. Just the well worn pathways of a familiar routine.
And as for being my own boss, having a real stake and say in what I do, well there's always some fucker out there demanding a big cut, whether it's google or yellow pages or Chris Kelly or whatever.
In the past, I could have just fucked it all off. Jacked it in. These days, I have responsibilities. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Throwing in the towel when things weren't going the way I wanted is exactly the sort of immature lack of pride I referred to earlier. For all the "freedom", they were not happy times. What I wanted to do instead of whatever chore I sought to avoid was generally nothing at all. Get stoned. Get drunk. Drop out. A part of me still feels like that, and I sometimes choose to do just that.