At some point in your life, you experience the conflict of trying to determine whether or not what you have is enough, and if you can’t find something better. Outside and inside influences feed your insecurities and self-doubts, and it starts to get complicated figuring out where your real priorities should lie. Is there a better boyfriend/girlfriend/job out there that could be a better fit for you? The thing to remember is no matter if it’s dating or work, you should first honestly answer the question: am I happy with what I have?
When I started getting serious in a relationship after graduating from college, I recall some family and friends asking me if I should be getting too serious in my relationship so young in my life (despite the fact that I was in my early 20s and don’t really consider that so “young”). They asked: shouldn’t I be dating as much as I could, now that I was an independent person with my own job and could focus on figuring out what I liked? They didn’t think I’d had “enough” dating experience and were worried that I might be doing myself a disservice by not dating more and then getting serious and possibly getting married.
I started having self-doubts and worrying about decisions I’d made. Was it true? Was I being stupid? Naive? Clueless? Green? True, I didn’t date a plethora of guys or have an elaborate boyfriend record. Maybe what they were saying was true??? I found myself questioning what my priorities should be. Should I be dating an Asian guy because he might appreciate my culture and understand my family better? Should I be dating someone my own age? Should I be dating my personality opposite or my personality twin? The questions kept coming because I found it difficult to pinpoint what types of guys I should be dating to give me a better idea of what I wanted in a relationship. Because I was freaking myself out over a non-issue, I started creating problems in the relationship that didn’t exist.
Then it hit me.
Why was I doing this? Why was I letting what people think is best for me drive me to making decisions, when they didn’t know what I want or need in a relationship? Why am I getting peer-pressured to date more before delving into a serious relationship when I was happy with the relationship I was in? And because I was happy in my relationship, I decided that I didn’t want to ruin a very good thing going to try to find something “better”.
Ever since I decided to go freelance, I’ve had to adapt to the requirements of a freelance lifestyle. One of those requirements is staying on top of contracts (i.e., when they start and when they end) and being proactive in finding work to allow for a smooth transition from one contract to another when one ends. Everyone needs a steady flow of income, whether a fulltime employee or a contract employee, and I’m no different.
Recently I started responding to work inquiries to see what could be the next contract gig. I had already reached out to inquire about renewal for the current contract, and until I saw the actual contract, I was assuming there would be no contract and would have to find something else. (Better be safe than sorry, right?) One of the companies I responded to was looking for a fulltime employee, and my initial reaction was to politely decline since I wanted to stay with freelance/contract opportunities only. However, due to the nature of the work of the company, I responded with interest in the potential opportunity and was subsequently brought in for an interview. I figured: check it out and see if it’s something that could make me change my mind about a fulltime position.
Interview Day came. In several hours time, I met with and talked to some really nice and smart folks. During the interview process, though, I realized that there was not a match for the employer and me. From the employer’s perspective, they needed someone to work onsite and manage a team as well as work with outsourced developers overseas. From my perspective, I needed a freelance engagement that allowed me to work remotely, was focused entirely on software development, involved zero management, and didn’t involve working with any outsourced developers.
Then it hit me.
I already had the perfect freelance contract. I’m able to work remotely (this means home office, coffeehouse, my parents’ house in Alabama, etc), I’m working on some really terrific software, I’m working with some absolutely intelligent, hardworking, fun, driven people, and I’ve got the best manager I’ve ever had in my entire working career. Why on earth would I want to give all this up? I was already happy with the current contract and decided to put the brakes on the wandering career eye because it made absolutely no sense to look for something else when I was already happy as a lark.
The grass isn’t always greener, guys. Always always always listen to your gut. Remember that it’s not always about quantity, it’s about quality. If you are happy with your current dating and/or work situation, you should stay with it and not ruin a really good thing. Good things in life come few and far between when it comes to dating and work, so always make sure you ask yourself the question “am I happy?” before you go off doing something you’ll regret later.