I have been asked (more than) a few times over the past year or so questions along the lines of
And the list goes - a list of reasons why people would feel worried or stressed by being in my position at the moment, and you know what - these questions are pretty hard to deflect because...
Oh I worry - I've hedged my bets by lodging in a cheap room somewhere outside of London the past couple of months for a low amount of money, no deposit and no minimum term, I've hedged my bets by not taking on anything too long term so I can always leave the country, I've hedged my bets by making friends like a mad person in case somebody - anybody has some work to throw my way, but I still worry. I worry that I've still not been able to open a bank account in the country where I am supposedly paying taxes and that means that the money I've been earning is still a mysterious pool of which a pile belongs to the government but I'm not able to work it out properly because it's intermingled between my company and myself.
I worry that I'm not going to find enough work to pay for coffee and my rent, I worry that I'm not going to be able to afford to follow through on my plans for next year (which is to go on holiday for a month or so again), I worry that I'm not investing in my future, I worry that I'm going to end up 60 and poor, I worry that I'm not charging enough I worry that I'm charging too much and I worry that I'm not good enough to be doing what I am doing. I worry about the talk I'm giving next and whether I'm prepared enough for it, I worry that I'm not even qualified to give that talk - I worry that when I open my mouth at a conference people are going to realise I'm pretty much making it up as I go along as I don't know what I'm doing.
I worry about all of these things and more - and I worry about them even more when people start listing off these things to me as a question because it reminds me of my worries - because after all, I'm living life pretty much on the edge and I've not really got the big name that would guarantee me lots of lucrative enterprise consulting contracts. I worry that I should be marketing myself more instead of spending my spare time writing code that nobody really cares about and I worry that I market too much and people are going to get fed up of me asking for work.
So yes - I worry, it'll come as a surprise to people who are even close to me because I wear a cocky know-it-all no-bullshit arrogant aura of confidence everywhere I go, and that's a marketing tool too because nobody wants to hire a quiet passive guy who sits in the corner and doesn't feel as if he has any answers.
I don't let the worry consume me, I tell myself that there are safety nets and I tell myself that I can always get a real job if I really need to (and oh man, I worry about this too because that'd be long term commitment to staying in one place for more than a few weeks and I get cabin fever really easy these days). But I tell myself that there are safety nets anyway because the worst thing that can happen is I take a real job except actually that's not the worst thing because the worst thing that could happen is that my field of software development collapses and I'm left without a job - okay that's a pretty real worry but I don't let that consume me either because I have work for the next few weeks booked up at least and that'll keep the food in my mouth.
I don't let the worry consume me because things have a way of working themselves out if you throw your hands in the air and admit defeat and ask for help from people who already have their crap sorted out.
I don't let the worry consume me because I'd prefer to be writing code and I can't write code when I worry so I write code to push the worry away and only let the worry in when I've got a spare 30 minutes and there is no power in my laptop and I have nothing better to do.
I don't let the worry consume me because I've spent many years now putting myself into worrying situations and things haven't fallen apart yet.
Worry has proven itself to give me nothing in return for the space in the head that I afford it, and by refusing to acknowledge it and just press on with what I want to do regardless I've found that I can get along just fine.
But don't make the assumption that I don't worry and I'm not scared - it's just the things I worry and fear are privileged white male software developer things to worry and fear and I'm lucky to be doing what I'm doing and getting away with it.
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