“I’m a perfectionist” used to be the thing to say in a job interview. Because it implies you’re thorough and relish the prospect of making sure everything’s just right for the people you’re begging to for a job.
What it didn’t imply was the truth about what perfectionism is: a pathological mental health issue that makes you eat babies.
OK, I made that last bit up. But perfectionism really is a mental health problem that’s on the rise thanks to our meritocratic education and employment system which churns out anxious generations of unbalanced, eager-to-please drones who obsess too much about every last detail and don’t know when it’s OK to do an OK job.
Perfectionism is an ugly affliction where you measure your self-worth by productivity and accomplishment. And perfectionists are brutal critics of themselves when they inevitably fail to meet their own high standards. But it can be beaten by realistic standards, appreciating yourself and taking joy from things that can’t be quantified in a spreadsheet.
Now here’s my big secret: I’m a reforming perfectionist. And what better way to cure oneself of a predisposition to striving for unrealistically high standards than writing a book ostensibly about the best way to do things.
Yet the Human Freelancer movement isn’t about the best or right way to do things (as I mention in the prologue). Too many self-help books fail on that point: they assert themselves as an authority, preach and take everything too seriously. So the dark humour throughout this blog and its corresponding book is a deliberate attempt to undermine that, and lower the tone to mere friendly, well-intentioned yet non-prescriptive advice.
Sometimes the tone around here is contrary, I know. And you will find a few voguish ‘How to…’ chapters lying about. But again that’s because I want to subvert and de-construct conventional wisdom about the best way to do things, share how I aspire to improve the art of freelancing, then encourage you to try it on your own terms. That’s the subtext to the book.
I defer to once again to the prologue:
“Finally, remember that this is just one way to look at things, not the only way. The right way is your way with a healthy blend of endless curiosity and experience (both good and terrifying).”
Yes I’ve just quoted myself
The only person who can solve your problems is you. Not some magic ‘7 ways too…’ bullshit blog post. The Human Freelancer is all about helping you emancipate yourself and to see obstacles and imperfections for what they are: unavoidable dog turds on the pavement of life that you will step in. If it has the desired effect then you won’t get too precious about the smear it leaves on your shoe and quickly wash away the shit with your hosepipe of fortitude.
LOOK! There's a book full of this shit and more!
Self-help business books perpetuate the myth that success is relentless growth and more of everything means progress. They preach about bookkeeping and market research: things you might need to do of course. But let’s face it they’re fucking boring.
The Human Freelancer book is your antidote: stuffed full of emotional support and insightful advice for vulnerable newbies to self-employment like you.Buy it now