Who Do You Work For?

November 22, 2017
By Zack Poelwijk
Who Do You Work For?

What would you say if someone said that it must be nice to not work for anyone? To be your own boss?

When you own your own business, the quick answer to the question of who you work for is that you work for yourself. But when you really think about it, that’s not true. You work for your customers. Because if they’re not happy with your performance, they won’t come back.

I own my own freelance writing business. Many people have commented over the years that “it must be nice to not have a boss.” At first I went along and agreed.

Then, I started realizing that when I agreed with people that I didn’t have a boss, particularly when I was still working from my home, that seemed to devalue their opinion of my work. They thought I just worked from home when I felt like it, that I could take as many days off as I wanted to, or choose not to do the work if I didn’t like it.

When I started responding, “actually, I have several bosses,” they seemed to more fully understand that I wasn’t just sitting on the couch eating bonbons. The work needed to get done whether I felt like it or not. It was easier to explain that if I took days off I didn’t get paid. And I explained that I had to check in with the editors of all the websites, newspapers and magazines that I was working for to make sure I had more work coming down the pipe after the work I was doing currently was done. I was always looking for more work from the bosses I already had, and was always trying to find a new boss.

And if I didn’t give my “bosses” what they wanted, they wouldn’t hire me again. So . . . who do you work for?

It’s the day before Thanksgiving, when we all start to think more about gratitude and giving thanks. If you’re grateful for your many bosses (your customers), show them. Not just on Thanksgiving, but all the time. What would that look like for you?

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