This is a guest submission by Abby from

So, what did I want to be when I was little?

What I wanted to be:

I can’t distinctly remember every ambition, but I know there was a marine biologist, an actress, a baseball player, Mariah Carey, a teacher (for the summers off, not the humanitarian efforts,) a vet, a lawyer (to get paid to argue, most certainly not for the humanitarian efforts,) an artist,  and Sylvester Stallone’s love child during the “Rocky” years thrown into the mix at some point.

My mom’s answer as to what I wanted to be:

That I wanted to be the boss of me, and quite possibly, the boss of a few other people (my minions, I was told. Muah-ha-ha.) It’s not that I was bossy, but rather that I liked to be in charge of getting things done and having say over how I spent my time.

That time was usually spent doing more than one thing at once. If the TV was on, I was also coloring. If I was in the car, I was also reading or drawing. Yes, I was the nerd that would read ahead in class because I already had my work done.

My point being, I think I’ve always felt entitled to my time and how it’s spent.

Now I’m technically an adult and it’s assumed that my maturity level is slightly higher than that of the little girl who dreamed of being the bastard child of an aging movie star. But some things haven’t changed.

I still feel a sense of entitlement over my time and still  just somehow want to be the boss of me.

On The Clock

Here is where I add the disclaimer that I work in a decent environment as a managing editor of three publications and I’m grateful for my job. It’s a good job, but it’s just not a good job for me.

No, this is more about the general system and really has nothing to do with the place at all.

It has to do with the fact that the little girl with plans to be her own boss—after saving the whales and starring in a major motion picture—has turned into a hippie-dippie adult with a “real” job who still wants something more.

While I realize the impracticality of my desires, I would like more control of my time.

See, even though I have no desire to climb any corporate ladder, I’m a darn good employee. My work gets done thoroughly, usually early and I tend to have higher expectations than others do for the work that I do. But here’s the thing. Regardless of how I get my work done, my butt is still expected to be stuck in that chair for the duration of the day and I’m still expected to be at my best during those hours.

In essence, I’m paid for time and not for effort.

Six-year-old Abby would find this absurd, and 30-year-old Abby is not far behind (however, 30-year-old Abby has a house payment and 6-year-old Abby had a blanket fort—rent free.)

It seems there are countless hours and days when my time is not my own, when it really belongs to those that sign my paycheck (again, see disclaimer above. It’s nothing personal.) It feels a bit selfish, a bit immature, but I sometimes resent that what I do is measured in minutes and not merit.

I Feel Cheated

Cheated out of what, I’m not quite sure. Maybe out of control, of  creativity, of individuality. Maybe out of energy towards things I want to do, things that rarely conveniently fall at a time after “traditional” business hours.

And in a cruel plot twist, things I don’t get paid to do, such as rambling on my blog.

My brain does not differentiate between business hours and the few left over at the end of the day, just as it doesn’t differentiate between weekends and professional production. I get some of my best ideas for both at the most random times.

And in another cruel plot twist, I can get more work done in two hours at home than in two days stuck there in the office amid pointless distractions, meaningless meetings and restrictions of other’s conventional schedules.

To ask them to let me work from home is unrealistic, but so is thought that it’s one-size-fits-all when it comes to these things or that this is how things have to be.

Treading Water

But instead of holding my breath in protest (while coloring and watching TV) like 6-year-old marine biologist/child actor Abby would have done, I suppose I should exhale and just keep keepin’ on for now—considering they pay me to write words, even if they’re not the words I really want to write.

I read motivational stories of people who leave their jobs and find themselves with six-figure businesses, and it that’s you, more power to you.

But right now I have to reconcile the fact that what I want to be is sometimes shaped by what I have to be, at least for a little while. And while I might not know exactly what it is that my talents are best suited for, I know that I have talent and I know what I don’t want. That doesn’t mean I’m giving up, as much like my fictional philandering father Rocky Balboa, I’m a fighter.

No, one day I’ll be asked, “What did you want to be?”

I’ll say with a smile, “What did I want to be? Just what I am—a woman who’s paid to write from the heart, in control of her time and her efforts…and possibly named by  Billboard magazine in their “Top 50 R&B/Hip-Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years.”

And as the boss of me, I’ll accept that two out of three ain’t bad.

Abby writes a blog, Abby Has Issues at, where she runs mental marathons in yoga pants and documents her brilliant insights. She brings humor, she brings insight and she makes you feel more normal. After all, we all have issues.

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