Valuable Lessons Learned From A Cockroach, A Can Of Raid And Some Spare Time

Posted: January 28th, 2010

Photo by Misiek_beauchamp (Flickr)

Photo by Misiek_beauchamp (Flickr)

I personally don’t like unannounced visitors prancing around my apartment. OK, maybe with the exception of the lovely Marta on the third floor. But this one was particularly unwelcome… a cockroach so big that it probably scared off the rats safely chomping away nearby. Hell, the thing probably ate the rat for all I know.

I don’t know why my first reaction to seeing unwanted critters is to run and grab a can of bug spray when a quick squash with a foot would do just fine. Something about seeing the white and yellow bug guts just doesn’t go right with me.

Anyway, after unleashing a virtual swimming pool of Raid on the poor bastard and waiting and waiting some more, I got to thinking, hey, there could be a lesson in freelancing learned here. And indeed there was. Several as a matter of fact.

Death can probably come at any moment. Humans included.

I’d expect a bug spray to kill on the spot, like the good old foot. But in that minute or so while our invader was dying, I suddenly had that thought of my own mortality. You know, the one that makes you take up praying or give in to those Watchtower folks who pay a household visit once a year.

So, diligently thinking, do I want to leave a legacy of websites and a current half-built one for Mr Jones? Or do I want to leave a legacy where thousands of people were positively affected by my work?

Well, I also have that goal of one thousand fans on my blog. Let me check on it… 105, so nope to that.

Time to get to work.

Make like Custer, errr, Davy Crockett and fight to the end.

About a minute and a half passed while I watched the critter make every attempt possible to, well, survive. As I blocked his escape to the safety underneath the fridge with the foot (still too scared to crush the damn thing), I thought, man, is this one tough little bugger. No wonder they may take over human existence during the Apocalypse.

Then something crossed my mind again. Do I have that kind of fight in myself, especially in my freelance career?

In other words, am I learning as much as I can while being as productive in my work as I can?

After the nap and Twitter session I just had, that’s probably a negative as well.

Now it’s really time to get to work.

We’re not cockroaches, we’re human. Life can’t be that bad.

Cockroaches, depending on species, have an average life span between 3 months and two years. That’s plenty if you normally crawl around the sewers and kitchens of unsuspecting freelancers. That is, unless you’re unlucky enough to die by a healthy shower of insecticide.

I go through hard times just like anybody else. Some days, nothing seems to go my way. I can still afford the roof over my house, have the daily ramen to eat and the work flow has been good.

I’ll be sure not to not take these for granted while Mr Jones is yelling on Skype about his website being down for 15 seconds. Come to think of it, nor when someone decides that a typo on my blog is reason to unleash the reasons I’m going to hell.

I still got my five flavors of ramen sitting in the cupboard. My reasons for being.

Stick your head where it probably shouldn’t be.

I actually began to feel sorry for the poor sucker. Wrong place, wrong time. If you only laid low until my bedtime, you could have feasted on those breadcrumbs and two grains of rice. Like they say, curiosity killed the cat or the cat-like creature.

We’re not cockroaches, though, nor cats. We won’t die by scratching that itch we have doing that one thing that’s been on our mind forever. At worst, we’ll be embarrassed, humiliated and have deal with a bruised ego.

Better than swimming around in a pool of Raid I say.

Raid “kills bugs dead” but keeps freelance careers in perspective.

More on the author, Johnny Spence
Johnny is the founder of The Freelance Rant and a freelance web programmer with 8 years in the business. Have a visit at his company Oscarrr!web or see what he's up to on Twitter.

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