So, I sat down to write a post this morning on my morning commute, as it my habit, and just couldn’t get into anything. The truth is, I’m pre-occupied. So, I thought I’d write a little post just to share what’s going on in our life and ask for your prayers.
My entire adult life, I’ve been self-employed. I spent 6 years or so doing IT and Network Administration where the bulk of my work was for a La-Z-Boy franchise of 10 stores. Then I spent another 6 years or so doing Software Engineering for a promotional company, again, contracted. I like being contracted, because I got to pick a lot of the “W”‘s about work:
- With Who
Some people definite success in life by how many of those “W”‘s you get to control. Well, as a self-employed individual, I got a fair bit of control over many of those.
A couple of years ago, my largest client got bought out, and frankly, the new owners destroyed the company. That’s not a matter of opinion…they decimated it, and not on purpose. So, I found myself still self-employed, but with very little work. Too many eggs in one basket. Sometimes that’s hard not to do, especially when they just keep making the basket bigger and more attractive.
I spent a year working out of my house nearly 100% of the time, but well, with very little work. It was the best year of my life, aside from the financial concerns. I got to be there for the first 12 months of my youngest son’s life, day in and day out. I went on a ton of homeschooling field trips, and went for walks whenever I wanted. Except for the money, I was living the dream.
Then one of my clients offered me a job, and frankly, I couldn’t say no, because, well, that money issue was becoming a bigger issue. So, I’ve been working there for the last 7 months or so.
Here’s the problem: The job is a 2 hour commute away…each direction. Yeah, I know, a lot of you just went “Oh…wow”. It’s a drive, then a train ride, then a subway ride, and then a walk. And then at night I do it all again. Plus, to ensure I actually get to see my kids, I shifted my schedule by a couple of hours so I could be home for supper. That means that my day starts at about 5 am and ends about 5:30 am. Earlier if I decide to go to the gym before work.
Frankly, it’s killing me. I haven’t felt rested since I started. In the evenings, I’m exhausted, and my weekends are spent recovering from the prior week just to keep me alive, on the rare chance we don’t have some function to go besides church.
Not only that, but the money isn’t that good and I didn’t fully understand how much the difference in taxation between being self employed and being employed would make. Not to mention deductions (which I had to pay as a self-employed individual) and the $25/day in transportation costs.
In short, it seems like I’m trading my life for stability, and it’s unsustainable. I’m noticing gradual declines in my health as well as my relationships, and I feel like I’m living only to work.
A couple of months ago, I managed to get them to agree to letting me work from home one day a week, but frankly, it’s not enough of a change to make a major impact on the situation.
Last week I was off on vacation. I didn’t go anywhere or do anything special. For the first time since I started, I finally caught up on my sleep. It took a full week. For the first time, my back didn’t hurt, and I didn’t have a headache. It made me realize just how bad the situation was. I mean, I should have realized earlier, when even my colleagues at work were asking “Why are you still working here?” But, I’m a bit stubborn.
So, yesterday I told my boss (the COO) that my employment is not sustainable and unless we make a change, I’m going to have to find something else. It wasn’t a letter of resignation, but it was a precursor to one. I also offered a solution that would both save them money as well as make me more productive and happy: Hire me as a contracted vendor and let me work from home.
His response “We’ll find a way to make this work”. Good news! … except later he then said “Would you be willing to accept a compromise?” but he didn’t know what that compromise would be. The only downside to my solution was that they’d have to get over the mental hurdle of a critical team member being in the office every day, and I fear it might be too big for them.
Yesterday he talked to the owner of the company, and I have a meeting today to follow up. So, I guess I’m asking for prayers that it will go well. If it does, I’ll have more time to work on this ministry, more time to sleep and more time for the various relationships in my life (friends and family), as it will free up potentially 64 hours a month in commuting and raise my take-home income by about 35%. Even if I had to come in once a week, I’d still save 40 hours a month. That’s a lot of time as well as still a significant effective raise.
And yet, even after all that, I have to say, pray that God’s will be done. If He wants me there every day…so be it. But, I hope He doesn’t. If He wants me to leave and do something else, okay. I just hope He also points me in the direction where I should go….or rather, pray that I will see His leading.
Well, that’s it for now. Thank you for your prayers. I might not write another post, but I’ll try to update my mailing list on what’s going on, so subscribe if you are interested in following the progress.