This Depressed Feeling – It’s January Gloom, isn’t it?

During the gloom-laden month of January those of us with seasonally-affected businesses often wonder why they have chosen their path.

To the one person business dependent on all of his wits and imagination to pull in enough money to pay the bills, hordes of commuters streaming across Waterloo Bridge to work in other people’s businesses for which they have no ultimate responsibility suddenly becomes a Utopian fantasy.

Although the ‘job for life’ no longer exists, job-hopping does and the fact that you’re moving sideways or slightly downwards is often preferable to staying where you are. What a luxury! Freedom to choose where you work! Carefully cultivating an impressive CV. Only doing about three hours ‘real work’ per day, the rest of it spent around the watercooler or staring at the computer screen pretending to be working. When I was occasionally called into publishing companies to help with page layout, I was always amazed at how little work I was actually expected to do.

Of course, the downside is that no job is secure these days and, in fact, my Mickey Mouse operation from the front bedroom of a house in Barnet is probably more profitable, percentage-wise, than, say, Virgin (this is a theoretical example only, no facts and figures to back it up).

But, back to that front bedroom. It’s when one is faced with mortgage, credit card and tax bills, that one wonders if there might be a better way. Compounded by the fact that none of your internet activity seems to be creating any enquiries, despite being number one on Google for a few search terms and on the first page for many others and despite putting ads up in various places and writing articles for other related sites and promoting demo videos on Youtube, the January Gloom is bound to descend.

And then you come onto Ecademy (or similar) and you are faced with a barrage of over-optimistic promises and surefire quick fixes preached by business evangelists, many of whom have never had a ‘proper job’ in their lives. You can’t blame them. Most of them are running their own one man shows from their front (or back) bedroom and perhaps even they sometimes experience the January Gloom (at any time in the year). They probably sometimes regret the amount of time they have to put into their motivational speeches and the amount of travelling they have to do in order to sell just one of their ‘self-help books’.

But the feeling persists. Everyone else is busy being more successful than you are. This is the atmosphere that is encouraged and though it may be true, on a seasonal basis at least, the insecurity it engenders can drive a person to press the button that promises untold wealth only to have his bank account and self esteem drained before having his attention drawn to the small print which actually says that the opposite is probably true (you’re going to lose all your money).

And money is at the root of all this (and evil as well). Whatever networkers tell you about their altruistic motives (which, in most case, I believe to be absolutely true), in the end, they’re looking forward to their kitchen re-fit, the Caribbean, the holiday home or the car upgrade. If networking was purely charitable, it wouldn’t exist.

And while a small percentage are truly interested in friendship (it can get lonely in all those small cold bedrooms) the number of contacts I get from strangers vowing that we have so much in common and we should ‘get together’ easily outweighs those good individuals with purer motives.

There’s a sense that if you can get more, you should. There’s little sense of enjoying what you have and being able maintain that level. I’m paying my bills (just). Do I need any more?

Unfortunately, a nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach says ‘yes’ (what with university expenses looming). But I don’t think I’m about to become a snake oil salesman to achieve that.

It’s just January Gloom, I keep telling myself. It’s always quiet at this time of the year (is it? Need it be?) I’ve got a cold coming on. And worse of all I’m one year older at the end of the month!

Glad I got that off my chest. No need to read it. Oh you did? Oh well, never mind.

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4 Responses

  1. Heh – I came to your blog from a post on the Facebook group… and read this post and thought “yep – I know how he feels!”

    I dislike networking events, but do them because they generate leads in a more pleasant way than things like cold-calling and similar. You get to have a chat with some genuinely nice and knowledgeable folk who will share knowledge with you. Others, however, feel like they’re there with finely polished sales blurb.

    I think really good networkers are out to find like minded folk who could well become friends with time. These long term relationships then turn into a great source of leads. I try to avoid the obvious sales people. It feels nicer that way!

  2. Thanks! We’re singing from the same hymn sheet!

  3. It’s January gloom, soon to be left on the scrapheap of history by the new, improved February gloom.

  4. Now, now, let’s not get too gloomy. There’s pancake day to look forward to.

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