“There’s no I in team…”

During my decade of “proper” work, I must have heard (and later, preached) that mantra at least a thousand times. It’s only now though, as I look at the printer I have to unjam before I can start on today’s work, that I stop to consider its hidden (and for me much more poignant) meaning.

Being part of a team is awesome. Having a group of people around you to share your “hell yeah baby!” moments… lift you up after your “today was really pants” moments… and fill in the gaps during your “how the fudge do I do that?!” moments, is an incredibly powerful thing.

I have heard (slash endured) many a CEO bellow across award ceremony stages and seminar rooms that “our success is down to the amazing people working inside this organisation” and “from the cleaners to the chairman of the board — we all have to play our part to succeed”. And so on and so forth until the free table wine is finished and the party really gets started.

So how then, do we succeed? …Working every day without that network of cogs, turning in tune to allow the next to function.

So how then, do we succeed? We being the army of sleep deprived, small human rearing, “teamless” freelancers and small business owners; working every day without that network of cogs, turning in tune to allow the next to function.

There is no I in team… and there is definitely no team in I.

This is by far the thing I have found the most challenging since I turned my back on gainful employment (such a strange term that — the only thing I really gained as a part-time working mum of a child under one, was more time to listen to the radio whilst sat in hours of traffic and a sense of never feeling like I was giving any part of my life 100% anymore…) to embrace my inner hippie and set up Jam Jar to spend more time with my baby girl.

When I get to my studio in the morning, there is no passive aggressive Dave in IT to fix my printer. No Janet, the crazy lady in accounts — who always shouts at me for handing in my expenses without a budget code — to run my end of year reports.

It’s. Just. Me.

I miss having people to bounce my ideas off. People to rant at when something doesn’t go my way… I just miss people.

I miss having people to bounce my ideas off. People to rant at when something doesn’t go my way. People just to chat with over coffee between getting stuff done. I just miss people.

My friends and old colleagues have often said to me…”I wish I could do what you do” and “it must be so cool to be your own boss”, and they’re right. As far as bosses go, I’m pretty freaking awesome! But despite the freedom and creativity I get from my business, my little “teamless” island can get a little lonely from time to time. And its those times that I have to remind myself of this:

I stepped away from the comfort of all of the above to work on the only team that really matters — my family.

I wrote this piece to give a digital hug to all the other freelance/self employed parents out there, who despite loving their new jobs (as I do), and spending more time with their little humans (as I do)… just miss people… as I do.

Our interactions may only be digital, and we may never actually meet in person, but I’d like to think that if we ever did share an office, our coffee breaks would be the best ever.

Photograph by Nadia Wood.

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