I decided to take most of the week off from any real work and it feels really good.
As self-employed, small business woman, there are some real perks to my schedule. I can go to Target whenever I feel like it. I could take a nap every day if it didn’t mean I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep until roughly 3 in the morning. I do not have to be overly concerned with matters of cute clothing and impeccable makeup. I can keep the bra hanging on the hook until I head to the aforementioned Target. I can drive my teenaged son to school every weekday morning and retrieve him at day’s end. I can head down to pick up my girl from college and the only person I have to notify is me.
As a self-employed, small business woman, there are some real downsides to my schedule. If I don’t work, I don’t make money, and even if I do work, there is no guarantee that what I’m working on will make money. Thankfully, I have one steady gig throughout the year as the art director for Scrapbook & Cards Today magazine, but the rest of what I do is sort of based on speculation.
What this translates to is not being off work very often. That doesn’t mean I work 70 hours a week (though that has happened on the rare occasion), it just means that work is never completely off the plate. I did go to Slovenia a few years ago and that is the last time I remember work being completely off of said plate.
It’s just part of how I’ve made a living for the past 17+ years. I’ll always know that number because I quit my full-time corporate design job when Cole was born in 1999 and since then, I’ve worked for myself. Yes, I was employed for a few years by big companies (CK Media, publisher of the now defunct Simple Scrapbooks and Creating Keepsakes magazines), but I’ve always worked primarily from my little St. Paul office, here in my home.
Right now, I’m looking ahead to 2017 and forming some plans. What will I do to continue this 17-year streak? I call it a streak because I have never once taken for granted the surprising ability to be self-employed. Not once. I remember years ago, as a corporate graphic designer thinking, “I’m done with what I had to do… why do I have to just sit here and look busy?” Part of being my own boss means understanding when work needs to get done and planning accordingly. That means when it’s done, I don’t have to stay in this office and just look busy.
But I definitely need this week, and maybe even next week to just slow down and savor some time away from my computer. There are times, especially when launching a new class (which yep, I’m doing right now), that I catch myself saying to Dan, “God, I’m tired of me already.” That’s the price of self promotion, but it’s definitely something that makes me stop and think, “If I just had a normal job, I’d do my work and a paycheck would predictably arrive like magic!”
A few months ago I saw a local job posting that I thought would’ve been a perfect fit, so I applied. I had to whip up a resume because I had nothing on hand that could be considered up to date, and sent it off. They called me the next day and prefaced it by saying, “We don’t think you’re going to take this job when we tell you about it because you’re a bit overqualified but…”
Two things happened. One, they were right. Two, I was flattered that I still had the ability to get someone to call me. And then I remembered that getting a job would mean daily bra torture and I returned to the work at hand.
I’m sharing this today because I haven’t been writing much in this space. I haven’t been writing what I know, and they say that makes for the best blogging material: write what you know.
Well right now, I know the hustle of working to make ends meet. I know the uncertainty of the what is next. I know the change of careers in my own home and how that’s affected so much in our lives. I know the stress of not knowing how it all shakes out. And so, I write about it.
I’d like to keep writing in the new year about this part of life. This middle part. This place that I’m in now that has so many question marks. That doesn’t mean it’s all negative. Not at all. It just means it’s good to take a week or two off of work.
I think that’s my point.