Girl boss. It’s the current “buzz word” that’s absolutely everywhere at the moment. Killing it with your blogging game? Girl boss. Setting up your own business? Girl boss. Getting promoted up the career ladder? Girl boss. Went to the gym three days in a row? Girl boss.
Whilst I could, in many ways, be described as a girl boss (definitely not because of the gym thing, might I add), I don’t particularly think the term – with its current connotations – has much relevance to my life. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s amazing that so many women are carving out incredible careers and lives for themselves and working hard to do what they love, but there comes a certain point when you just think: is it okay to not be a girl boss?
The glorification of being busy
When I think of the term girl boss, one of the things that instantly springs to mind is the need to be constantly busy, constantly “hustling”. It has almost become a necessity to say that you’re extremely busy, to prove that you’re always working harder than you’ve ever worked before. Yes, it’s healthy to push yourself and try to do the best that you can do – but when did working 14 hour days become something aspirational?
Being busy isn’t something to strive for; working hard and spending your time wisely is.
When you work for yourself, sometimes long days are unavoidable and if you’re going through a quiet spell you do have to “hustle” (ughhhhh, how I hate that word) to make sure you have enough business to see you through. But, for me anyway, the whole reason I became self employed was so I had the freedom to choose my own hours, to have a flexible working day and to be able to have time to nurture my own interests outside of work. I don’t want to be working on client jobs at 11pm every night. I want to be in my pyjamas, watching Netflix and thinking about what I’m going to do at the weekend.
Trust me, non-busy life is great. I can get up at 10am if I want to. I can take an afternoon off to run errands if I want to. I can have my whole weekend to myself, not answering a single email. That doesn’t mean I don’t work hard, but it does mean that I’m not busy all the time – I prefer to take things at a slower pace and have time to enjoy it all.
Aspirations for the future
If the current girl boss standards are to be believed, you can only be a girl boss if you have huge aspirations and want to take over the world one day. It’s never enough to enjoy what you’re doing now. You have to have a 5 year plan, a creative coach to tell you to go get your dream clients, an end goal. If you’re the sort of person who works well with a clearly defined plan, then go for it! Who am I to stop you?
But what about those of us who don’t have the next few years mapped out to the letter? Those of us who don’t have the desire to be running a multimillion pound company by the time we’re 30? Just because I take things as they come, it doesn’t make my work any less valid. I often feel like a bit of a fraud – it’s just little old me, teaching myself as I go along, trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. With the constant reminders of girl boss this and girl boss that, it’s easy to forget that doing your own thing is totally okay. Maybe in the future I’ll change my mind, but for the moment I’m quite happy working freelance by myself and not working towards owning a company or hiring other staff – and that. is. totally. okay.
How to measure success
I’m so grateful that I’m able to run my own business, taking inspiration from other women but doing things in my own way and being a girl boss on my own terms.
According to Pinterest and blogs and books and Instagram, it often seems that the end goal of being a girl boss is to have your own empire, akin to that of Sophia Amoruso, arguably the creator of this whole movement. If that’s something you want and can achieve (turns out it didn’t even work that well for Amoruso who filed for bankruptcy on behalf of Nasty Gal recently…) then that’s great. But there are so many other ways to measure success – they might not be quite as obvious to the outside spectator and they might not get you quite as many likes on Instagram, but they’re just as worthy.
Without sounding too preachy, I think happiness is far more important than money as a measure of success. Obviously, I need to earn enough to be able to house and feed and clothe myself, but after that my happiness and general wellbeing definitely comes ahead of earning extra cash. It would be nice to be a millionaire, but it’s also nice to wake up every morning and feel excited about the work that’s ahead of you. It’s nice to be able to spend time with friends and family instead of being stuck at your desk all the time. It’s nice to be able to fit your work around your life, rather than the other way around.
What are your opinions on being a girl boss?