Thank goodness for self employment

The past two months have been a blur. Between selling my home, taking on a new client, taking care of sick kids, managing volunteer commitments, buying a home and just the regular routine of parenting and having a life, I’ve felt stretched in all directions.  And I’ve never felt more fortunate to work for myself.

Because I work for myself, I can move things around. Home needs to be staged? Okay, I’ll run out to the store, buy accessories in the latest colours, and stage my home myself, allowing it to sell in just days. I’ll just work in the evening instead. Kids sick? No problem. I’ll move some meetings, work while they nap on the sofa, make them honey-lemon drinks while I make administrative calls, and mop their brows in between emails. Volunteer organization needs some help? Okay, I’ve got a few minutes to provide over-the-phone consulting while waiting for my computer to install updates — and I’ll write them a fundraising letter while waiting for my laundry to finish, before heading out to lecture at the university a few minutes from here. Need to do a home inspection? Okay…I’ll just answer emails while following the inspector around and chatting about roof lives, concrete spalling and planter boxes.

Sometimes, it all feels a bit frantic. There’s a lot to juggle. But I’m the kind of person who has a lot on the go. I get by with my Google calendar and smartphone (and sometimes my tablet) when I’m not in the office. If I worked a regular job, I’d have a lot on the go, too. I always have. But I swear it’s all a lot more relaxed because I’m self employed.

You see, I don’t have to worry about getting fired. I don’t have to beg a boss to let me work from home, let me run to appointments or wait around for a repair person. In fact, most days, I work from home – not because I can’t afford an office, but because I can’t afford to give up the time involved in managing yet another place in my life. Right now, as I’m typing this, I have tea boiling on the stove, a turkey breast roasting in the oven, laundry going, and texts from my realtor and mortgage broker coming in. I just hung up with the property appraisal folks. This morning, I took my kids to school late (they’d needed a little more sleep) and I got to do a minute or two of jazz dance with the class before heading off. I didn’t have to ask anyone for permission. I just had to make sure it all jived with my deadlines and my appointments.

Now, the price I pay for this lifestyle is that sometimes I do work odd hours. I will sometimes send out emails at midnight. I’ll work on a  Saturday. But that’s all a choice and it’s almost certainly because I’ve made a trade off somewhere else. I check my email (sometimes infrequently) when I go on vacation, but I also take a lot of vacations – not the two or three weeks that most people do. In fact, my kids were off sick for four days this week and we’re about to enjoy two weeks of Spring Break together. That’s more time off than most people have all year.

After 16 years of working for myself, I can’t imagine life any other way.