I tend to shy away from challenge. When things get tough, I give up pretty easily. My mom even told me so (and when your mom says it, it’s probably true). I joked that I would consider going to medical school (like my brother). She said I would never be able to handle it, because I would give up at the first sign of difficulty.
What my mom said is true, to a point. Math was always difficult to grasp, but I studied it because I was interested in it. It was worth it to me to spend so much time and energy understanding it, because it didn’t feel like work. But once I became discouraged and lost confidence in my ability, it felt like work. The payoff wasn’t worth the effort anymore.
My interest and motivation has always been highly influenced by my supervisor. For example, I never liked math until I had one incredible professor in college who brought the subject to life for me. In graduate school, my conflicts with my advisor directly resulted in my deciding not to continue pursuing a Ph.D. Now, my motivation to work has been all but erased by the awkward work environment created from the strained relationship with my boss.
This dependence on my supervisor has been both an advantage and a disadvantage. When relations are good, I’m happy and I work well (often seemingly independently motivated). When relations are bad, I’m discouraged and lose all drive; tasks that used to be interesting and challenging become laborious and cumbersome. As a result, lofty ideas and goals become unrealistic and impractical fantasies.
So here is my solution to my own shortcomings: go into business for myself. I’m too easily swayed by a supervisor, so why not become my own supervisor? In doing that, I would force myself to stay motivated, because there are no other alternatives. Sink or swim, basically.
Given my interests, skills, and background, the most practical business I’ve been considering is private tutoring. Having seen my company run from different perspectives (I’ve done sales and accounting, but I’ve also helped in production, shipping, quality assurance, and customer service), I think I have some idea on how to run my own small business (I might be eating these words later). I should be fine, especially if I get a lot of advice from Amy (I’m strongly considering partnering with you).
I still have a lot of reservations regarding making the leap into becoming self-employed (often considered a euphemism for unemployed). There is substantial risk involved, and I still have confidence issues, but maybe that’s exactly why I should do it.