Ideas for getting back into a socially satisfying salaried position after years of self employment working from home.
December 11, 2012 5:04 PM   Subscribe

Ideas for getting back into a socially satisfying salaried position after years of self employment working from home.

Ideas for getting back into a socially satisfying salaried position after years of self employment working from home.

I am really unhappy with my job situation. For the last 4 years, I have been effectively working from home running an online business. I am starting to think it's actually a rather unhealthy way to live. I've become increasingly lonely, isolated, indolent, and depressed.

Here is a list of my priorities 5 years ago, for setting up the business:

- Earn maximum money with minimal effort
- Be my own boss , control everything
- trackable performance related pay.
- Freedom to work remotely from anywhere
- Privacy, quiet, solitude on tap
- Flexible hours and freedom to pursue personal projects
- minimal need for phone and face meetings
- no dress code or social code to obey

However, I am beginning to suspect that these apparently attractive perks are making me miserable. So with this in mind, I have drawn up a list of priorities for a new job, pretty much at direct odds with my current position.

- Salary and compensation to not influence my choice of work
- have an inspiring boss and coworkers, to learn from
- structured timetable, routine,
- strong sense of community in the workplace , regular contact with diverse people across the organisation
- daily interaction with interesting and knowledgable people
- challenging stimulating work

I know these demands might be unrealistic in the current climate. Even luxuries. But I can be pretty stubborn about getting what I want when I put my mind to it. I am just beginning to think that I've been chasing the wrong things.

But I don't really know how to start looking for these things, having never really had a real job. Do these jobs even exist?

Another problem is that I find it hard to isolate and disassociate the degree to which these things contribute to my happiness. I suspect my acute feelings of social isolation are clouding the significance of certain perks of my current position. It is all blurred by crushing loneliness.

To feel less lonely, I have tried volunteering, renting an office on the other side of town, offering mentoring, getting a mentor, coworking. These all helped a bit, but ultimately they don’t solve the main problem, which is that for the vast majority of time, I work alone and exist in a bubble.

I am now 33 years old and whilst I think it would be difficult to adjust to a normal job, and it's slightly against the grain of my character, I feel in the longer term, I will be better off psychologically, if not financially, in adopting a more social job and committing to the groove of the normal working week that most people live by.

But I'm having a real hard time coming up with ideas for job that are accessible to a 33 year old with a humanities degree, who has never really had a proper job. Do I need to intern, retrain? I worked in office once for 6 months, a long time ago.

I really have no preference to industry. The types of people I would be working with are much more important I think.

So if you have any comments, or any ideas for jobs that might be a good stepping stone, I would love to hear them.
posted by molloy to Work & Money (4 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I don't think a new job actually addresses your problems. It's entirely possible that you'll be just as lonely in your new job, even with people around. The modern office environment is not particularly conducive to emotionally gratifying work. Structure and routine are a pipe dream in any sort of managerial or professional job. Chaos and daily conflicting deadlines are more the norm. And in any job where you are totally structured with a routine timeline you probably won't be intellectual stimulated, and you won't have the freedom to interact with interesting ans knowledgeable people.

So I don't know where to point you to find what you are looking for, but I can tell you that you aren't going to find it in a modern corporate office environment.
posted by COD at 5:32 PM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

hmmm...well, TBH, I'd first take a longer look at your priorities lists again...they seem a bit more "reactionary" than "forward moving"...rarely does happiness come from changing everything in your life 100% and 180 degrees in the opposite direction. One step at a time. Maybe a part time job with a bit more human contact first, see how it goes? A part-time job is easier to land usually, and it would allow you some time to keep your home business ticking, at least as a safety net. Remember : "jobs" usually tend to "suck" when it comes to "payment." You'll make more profit working for yourself, though, yeah, it can be pretty isolating at times.
posted by sexyrobot at 5:37 PM on December 11, 2012

Actually, as a person who works in a small business, consider small business.

First, have you thought about expanding whatever you're doing now and taking on an employee or two? You may be able to fulfill both sets of criteria -- be your own boss; employ people who inspire you (small businesses, especially really small ones, often employ really young people, so if you're good working with young people, this might be a good move).

Or, if you don't want to be your own boss anymore, a small business would probably love to hire you. Somewhere, there is a business owner who hates the exact parts of running a business that you kind of dig, but likes the parts that you aren't that into, and small business people dig you by default, because you know small business.

(I'm pretty sure I scored my current job at the exact moment when my boss said, "Oh, so when you asked how big the company was... my answer [twelve people] was a PLUS?" -- and I cemented it during the subsequent moments when I handled the shit that he isn't really into doing.) I can say that right now is the professionally-happiest I've been in maybe five years? I feel appreciated for what I do easily, and I'm surrounded by like-minded people (the ones who want to do the work well without the corporate bullshit).

Big business creates something like a million percent of all the jobs people actually have, but I never look for those jobs, because they don't want me much more than I want them. Big business just isn't for some people, and maybe you're one of them, but that doesn't mean that you can't fit anywhere.
posted by emumimic at 7:39 PM on December 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

This may vary by where you live, but is there some kind of industry group or mixer or events for your particular field (or even for freelancers) where you live? Because that kind of organization seems like it would suit just about all of your purposes without requiring you to blow up your life. Alternately is there something like a coworking space where you could grab a desk and hang out with other freelancers/small businessmen? That, again, would suit about all your purposes without requiring blowing up your life.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:13 PM on December 11, 2012

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