Brooke Lark/unsplash.com/photos/nMffL1zjbw4

Forget ‘quiet quitting’ — work for yourself!

Caution: You might REALLY hate your boss

Jeffrey Denny

I’ve quietly quit reading articles about quiet quitting.

Even though I take disturbing joy in irritation.

Many articles cite a Gallup poll that 50% of the U.S. workforce is phoning it in.

This raises troubling question about people running ICBM sites, circumcising, or managing a Wendy’s as the lettuce shipment arrives possibly loaded with e coli. But it explains why Trump lawyers aren’t racking up big wins against the rule of law.

Statistically, if you’re completely overwhelmed at work, you might be shouldering the load of the entitled goldbricker in the next cube.

What’s the cure for the QQ Blues?

One option: Yank up your office cargo shorts, quit for reals, and work for yourself.

You know, start an insanely successful startup. Be the master of your fate, the captain of your soul, and the toast of LinkedIn. Give inspiring TED Talks and college commencement addresses. Surprise your family and attend high school and college reunions to show everyone that, in fact, you did amount to something. Be like Musk.

But take it from my experience: Like everything in life, working for yourself has upsides and downsides.

Upsides of working for yourself:

  1. Get up whenever you feel like it.
  2. Work from home all the time — no more slogging to and from the office.
  3. No more irritating colleagues or hovering bosses who are stressed by their hovering bosses.
  4. A raise whenever you deserve it. The untold net income is all yours to wallow in like Scrooge McDuck.
  5. Set your own hours. Take any breaks you want. Nobody’s monitoring where you are and what you’re doing, thinking time and place equals productivity.
  6. Choose your title. In your old job, you were assistant senior director. This failed to value your invaluable value. Now you can leap to Chairman and CEO, a classic Horatio Alger mailroom-to-boardroom, rags-to-riches story.
  7. Update your resume and LinkedIn profile as “entrepreneur” and Chairman and CEO. Thank everyone on LinkedIn who congratulates you on your remarkable achievement. Bask in their jealousy. Ignore skepticism. Post constantly on LinkedIn so everyone knows you’re still working and not a loser.
  8. Brand your enterprise with a name that’s opaquely impressive. Include any form of “strategy” and “consultant” even if you mostly write online marketing copy. For example, “ComProSynGenDigiTrend Global Strategory Consulmatative Partnerating Partners, LLC, GmbH” will make people believe you do more than write marketing copy so you can charge $75/hour instead of $50/hour.
  9. Save $500 a month on commuting and another $500 a month on therapy for stress and anxiety from suffering other commuters.
  10. Save another $1000 a month eating and drinking at home. No more $7 morning Starbucks, $12 lunch turkey wrap with chips and drink, $7 afternoon Starbucks, and $50 going out for happy hour and apps. ~$12 a day should cover your home drinking and snack chips.

Downsides of working for yourself

  1. Having a completely irritating boss who’s always around, micromanages, and emits a pungent potpourri of flop sweat, existential despair, day drinking and not showering like in France.
  2. Balancing freedom, flexibility and fun with grubbing enough finances for food, housing and utilities.
  3. Working from home all the time. Agoraphobia can become claustrophobia as the walls close in and you slowly suffocate, like Fortunato trapped in an underground vault in Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado.”
  4. No break from irritating family and pets. Or roommates who also quit to become entrepreneurs and leave the shared bathroom an unspeakably filthy disaster.
  5. No colleagues who become work friends, dates, mates, or innocent workplace emotional affairs to spice up the tragically bland work days. Many couples find love in the workplace, but not at home. Some split up during Covid from working together at home.
  6. If you somehow manage to land many clients or a large client with disparate divisional needs, you’ll have many bosses. They don’t care about what the others demand or when. You might be your least-worst boss.
  7. You can forget about setting boundaries, ignoring urgent emails and demands outside working hours and on weekends, calling impossible deadlines impossible, and being righteous about your work-life balance and “me time.” If you do, you might be replaced by even more desperate entrepreneurs who don’t.
  8. You don’t get vacation days, personal days, sick days, mental health days, weekend days, holidays, half days before holidays, or 10 weeks of family leave. You certainly don’t get paid for them. This is why companies retain contractors/consultants — to command, demand, dictate and fire without the whole HR mishigas in ways they could never do with their employees. Good luck filing complaints.
  9. You don’t have an IT “service center” helping you with clunky and incomprehensible company software platforms, including billing so you get paid. The more clients you have, the more software platforms you need to learn, and the more complicated passwords you need to invent and update constantly. You also don’t have HR to complain to when you feel triggered or traumatized by toxic bosses, i.e., clients.
  10. You hate/don’t hate when work piles up. You want clients to demand more. You need clients to demand more. You use words like “honor,” “code,” “loyalty.” You use these words as the backbone of a life spent doing something. Quiet quitters use them as a punch line.

Ok, sorry, I’m channeling Col. Nathan R. Jessup/Jack Nicholson in “A Few Good Men.” It’s been a tough week working for myself. My boss is a jerk who won’t let me quiet quit.

Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer.

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Jeffrey Denny

Jeffrey Denny

A Pullet Surprise-winning writer who always appreciates free chicken.