Friday, September 26, 2008

Bend it like (Victoria) Beckham

(I've been learning a lot about SEO lately. I should probably include some pictures of David Beckham in his skimpy briefs to bring in a coupla more page views.)

So today was my last day of work. More accurately, it was my last day in the employ of a big ol' company (and not to sound dramatic, but it feels like I'll never, ever, ever be a salaried employee again). From now on, I work for ME. While I have editors and oversight at my new gig, my day-to-day tasks, how much I work, and when I do it is up to me. If I work more, theoretically I'll be paid more. Which translates, for me, into "if I goof around all day on Twitter while my kids are at school, I'll be staying up much later than I'd like to catch up on writing."

This is scary. For the past couple of months I've been juggling both jobs (oh and a few other freelance writing gigs thrown in for good measure) and it's meant a lot of burning the candle at both ends. While the kids are at school I work, unload the dishwasher, work some more, fold the laundry while on a conference call, work, write a blog post, work, etc. I take 5 or so hours off for kid pick-up, play time, dinner-bath-bed, and then it's back to working again until I roll into bed, by midnight if I'm lucky.

I know this is the new reality for so many of us. Forget balancing work and family; we stretch and contort and juggle family and home responsibilities with not just one job, but several. Blogging is a quasi-job (I just "earned" $200 from Parent Bloggers Network for my recent blog blast post!) too. The lines between "work" and "family" are so fluid they've become nearly invisible.

I wouldn't trade the flexibility I have now--the ability to run to school to help out for 15 minutes at 11 a.m., or to stop working at 2:30 p.m. and start up again at 9, or to file a story from anyplace in the world with an Internet connection. But there's something to be said, sometimes, for leaving work at work. And when you work at home, you just can't do that.

Image: Not-David-Beckham demonstrating the patented one-armed push-up ice-cream-eating technique.


Heather said...

It is hard. I keep adding to my to do list too.

Congrats on your win!

Lady M said...

Some young'uns who were interviewing with my husband's group were asking whether they could work at home. We snickered to ourselves and said (in our heads), "Of course! First you work in the office. Then you go home at night and work at home!"

BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

That's the tough thing about working at home and one of the reasons I still like driving into my office four days a week. But it sounds like you have an awesome gig....I have to admit that the time management thing is one of the toughest aspects of being left to my own devices on freelance projects, etc. I'm my own worst enemy when it comes to distractions! ;)

p.s. this is why I no Twitter

Patois said...

I could barely get past that adorable photo to read the post! But read it I did, and I offer both hearty congratulations and encouragement!

mothergoosemouse said...

You articulated my feelings on the WAH/freelance gig perfectly. I love it, but it feels as if it never stops.

elswhere said...

YOu really have captured it! After several years of having a regular outside-the-home job, my life right now is a mix of regular at-work work and freelance/at-home work, and I find it's really hard to get over the sense that if I'm home I should get to be off-duty (at least for non housework/kid things). At the same time, I'm loving the flexibility and the autonomy.'s good, I think. Just different.

Anyway, congratulations on the upcoming life of (not so much) leisure!

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

One of my co-workers -- one who works in the actual office -- told me she'll only be checking email twice a day. Ah, I said, the luxuries of being in an office! If I don't check my (work) email once an hour or so, I not only lose my connection with my co-workers, I lose my motivation. I can pretty easily convince myself that none of that work there really needs doing!

Regarding SEO, isn't it fun? I think it's fascinating. I actually go the opposite route with my blog, doing my best NOT to call attention to it! Only because it's so personal. The fact that you made $200 with one post makes me want to change my tune, though : )

Congrats on the new gigs. Here's hoping you can find better balance as you get into the rhythm of it.

TC said...

I'll be interested in how things go for you. After two-and-a-half years doing what you're just starting to do now, I found that the "never walk away from the job" thing became overwhelming. But maybe it was because I truly hated my job to boot!

I'm also interested in hearing how you do with About. I actually started the training to be a guide a few months ago, but realized that to really make it a successful gig, I'd have to give it way more time than I was going to be able to give it, being that my income is our sole income in this family.

So please keep us up to date (like you'd do anything less, right? ;-)). We'll be watching!

Kate said...

Great post... it really does sum it up well. With my full time day job, I'm also trying to juggle/start up an online gig, and likewise am burning the candle at both ends right now. Totally hear ya. Sounds like you do it well, though! And there really is something to be said about being able to work for yourself. I think in the long run it's the best way to go.