So here I have three advice blog posts:
Each offers advice on how to effectively sell one’s services without selling one’s soul – and they all say the same thing. You have to look out for #1.
Trunk writes (in bold!): Take care of yourself—have the basics covered.
I think she has it right; no matter what happens in life, you have watch out for yourself, because nobody [else] cares. Do it for yourself. (MacLeod).
Making sure you’re physically and emotionally healthy/safe (says Debauchette) is the only way to be sure you’re making good choices.
…Protect your body. Be healthy, exercise, get tested, and be sexually safe…
… Protect your emotional well-being.
Trunk agrees, regaling us with a hospital/anemia story, result of her non-attention to personal health.
You have to know and protect your limits; says MacLeod,
The most important thing a creative person can learn professionally is where to draw the red line that separates what you are willing to do, and what you are not.
Don’t hesitate to walk out if a client treats you badly. Don’t assume that because he’s paying, you’re obliged to do something against your will. Always have a plan for a worst case scenario. Know your boundaries and protect the **** out of them.
You must remain financially independent:
MacLeod says: Remain frugal.
Debauchette devotes three separate points to the issue:
– Save your money. There’s a lot that goes into upkeep, but if there’s money left over (and there should be), don’t blow it. Save it and put it toward a goal.
– Never allow yourself to become financially dependent on the clients. You absolutely, positively must be able to walk away at any time, for any reason…
– Pay your taxes. This is important.
Giving back to the world requires a sense of personal well-being and stability that only people who have a roof over their head can manage. … So before you worry about meaningful work, you need to be able to support yourself. Your first job in life is to figure out how to do that.
I could go on but the point isn’t that there’s good advice in these three disparate blogs (there is); it’s that there’s exactly the same advice in three such disparate blogs; a careerist, an artist, and a call girl all agree – if you want to be fulfilled, content, and able to control your life and bring everything you can to your job, your calling, and others, then you must – absolutely must – look out for yourself first.
Making someone or something else your #1 invites nothing but disaster and burnout – and it’s nearly impossible to help others, or even to enjoy life – once we reach that state.
On the flip side, this is exactly the justification we’ve all been looking for! Go have a cookie. Call your mother. Read a book. Go swimming, sailing, or scuba diving. Go to the gym. Heck, go into your room, lock the door, turn off the light, and lay down with a pillow over your eyes.
I’ll see you on the other side!