As I mentioned, I left a full-time job for a return to consulting, and I’ve got a part time contract for the nonce, but I’ve been exploring other opportunities. I have had a lot of conversations over the last couple of months, but none have resulted in a job offer or contract. Sales pipeline, they call it. Discouraging, I call it.
I have been here before: When a full-time contract ends, I start reaching out looking for more work, but I also think, Man, I’m going to have so much free time! I start thinking about household projects I can complete. Did I mention I was painting my fence and deck again, and that I started this spring? Yeah, that’s not done yet, and I should have all this new free time, ainna?
Well, that’s not how it ends up. I get up in the morning, get the kids ready for school, stop by the gym a couple times a week, hit the grocery or the warehouse club, get home, maybe write a blog post or two, hit the job boards and maybe reach out to a company or two (working that
discouragement pipeline), do some work on my part time contract, have some lunch, pick the boy or boys up from school, take them to martial arts a couple times a week, have dinner, do the evening chores, and sit down to read for an hour or so before bed. I spend parts of days at the laundromat or on household repairs. What extra time?
The gym can cut a couple hours off of the day at the beginning, and when I’m not working full time, I pick the youngest up after school on time instead of having him hang out in their “extended care” program (it’s not like he has extra-curricular activities in These Days) which cuts another two hours out of that extra time every day. And I don’t have a lot of blocks of an hour or thirty minutes between the daily activities–so I spend the time sitting at the desk, reading a blog or something. I certainly wouldn’t have the time to get the paint out and slap it on a couple pickets–or would I?
Then, a few weeks into the process, I notice how the cash flow is tightening. So I start getting concerned. I have a lot of places to tighten, of course: Not so many impulse purchases of CDs, fewer dollars-a-day stuff, not eating out, cutting the charitable giving. We’re not in dire straits by any sense of the imagination, but I get to thinking: What if I don’t get more work? What if this contract ends and I am completely out of work? I mean, even when I have a full time job, I tend to think I am only a couple weeks from being laid off, unemployed, and without prospects as an old man in a young persons’ industry.
So when I worry, I spend more time hitting the job boards instead of doing something else–writing, working on a new skill, or those aforementioned household projects. I get nervous when a day or so passes where I don’t find somewhere to apply or reach out. And, of course, the moments stolen with news and politics don’t lower my stress levels.
And then I get a full time job or contract, and all the “free time” and the promise it offered evaporates, and I really didn’t take advantage of it while I could.
This has happened before, of course, and I can explain all the stages of it very clearly. However, I’ll go through them all the same.
I’m a little afraid it’s how I live my whole life, though, frittering away time. Or maybe I just need to pick a better way of frittering.