Thursday, May 04, 2006
The Joy of Self-Employment
I’m in the second phase of my working life: the one where I walk away from teaching to pursue a dream of a home-based business, void of everything staff related. No more staff: meetings, luncheons, picnics, parties, in-services, appreciations or, god forbid, “strategy planning retreats.” In this phase of life, I will work without meetings, make decisions without administrators, set my own schedule and achieve financial independence, still with plenty of free time to nourish my spirit with writing. What could be better?

I fulfilled all the obligatory requirements of starting one’s own business: license, investments in tools of the trade and portfolio building. Things are coming to fruition. Soon, I will knock some poor IRS agent right off his chair when he reads a number higher than zero on my tax returns.

I’d like to share a day of my bliss with you. Perhaps it will inspire you to break away from the corporate world and bask in the glory and fulfillment of self-employment. Yesterday is a good example . . .

The school bus pulled away from the driveway, carrying my youngest off to school. On the way back to the house, I noticed my clematis was in bloom, my hostas were coming up and the wisteria weaving itself through the porch rails looked prettier than ever before. I made my way into the house and towards the kitchen to brew a pot of coffee and settle in for the day’s work. 8:15: an early start.

To my horror and surprise, in my brief absence, my tile floors sprouted several large, canine-induced lakes of green bile. An urping, burping German shepherd stood in the center of her creation, her watery eyes peering up at me as if to say Well lady, don’t just stand there, get a mop and get busy.

I found the source of her discontent (a bag of molding duck bread), cleaned up her mess, inspected her for damage then handed her over to my other-half, who was enjoying a morning off. He claimed to be so engrossed in a new philosophy book he simply didn’t hear the dog redecorating the living room. Suspiciously, I returned to the coffee pot. 9:00: Still plenty of time left to get to work.

The phone rang – my daughter begging me to deliver a forgotten science book. I quickly tossed on the clothes piled atop my laundry hamper, threw my hair into a ponytail, grabbed the book and ran out the door. When I caught a glimpse of myself in the floor to ceiling windows of the school entrance, I realized I looked like every middle-schooler’s most embarrassing moment, right down to my bare footed Birkenstocks. Fortunately, she met me at the drop-off site without detection from her peers. I checked my watch. 9:45: I’m not too far behind.

A small hallway separates our bedroom (herein referred to as The Philosopher’s Chamber) from my office. Void of inhabitants when I left the house, the space now overflowed with bedspreads, sheets and blankets. Evidently, the shepherd was still blowing her breakfast. “I’ve fallen in love with Spinoza!” the philosopher proclaimed, waving his newest book in the air at me.

“That’s great honey,’ I answered, “Does he do laundry?” He questioned what bug crawled up my nether regions while I hauled his catch of the day to the laundry room. 10:30: The morning a complete waste.

As I reheated my stale coffee, I caught a strange odor, realizing it came from me. I not only looked like a vagrant, I now smelled like one. A warm, relaxing bath was out of the question with the washing machine sucking the life from the water heater. I did a quick cold-water dance in the shower, cursing the yurking dog and the laundry impaired Philosopher. 11:00: All is not lost.

Fresh, dressed and holding my thrice-heated coffee, I attempted to stealthily sneak past The Philosopher’s Chamber en route to my office. You see, when The Philosopher is high on Plato, Kant or his new love, Spinoza, he is also convinced his soulmate shares his eagerness, no matter her obligations. One glimpse of me and I’d be snared into an hour of philosophical alliteration. “Listen to this,” he announced as he waved me into The Chamber. Snagged. I’d be lucky to reach my desk before noon.

From the porch, I kissed him goodbye as he headed off to work. Dark clouds rolled in, thunder rumbled in the distance and a breeze kicked up, shaking the wisteria. Rejuvenated by the quiet of an empty house and my favorite weather, I fired up the computer and dove into my work. 1:35: Time to get a few hours in before evening.

The hours passed quickly. I reveled in my productivity while outside my window, the storm gained momentum. As I put the final touches on my project, a tremendous strike of lightening simultaneously flared and bellowed, immediately followed by the sound of power draining from the house. My computer monitor spit out a dying blip and my office went dark.

There I sat. No boss telling me to go home for the day. No tech guy on the phone assuring me he could recover my work. No emergency staff meeting called to announce things would be right by Monday. Not even a co-worker to bitch and complain to. 5:00 and I hadn’t accomplished a damn thing all day.

The Philosopher burst through the door enthusiastically. “How’s work?” he asked.

They tell me he’ll make a full recovery
Rhonda Ruminated at 6:56 PM | Permalink |

18 Ruminations:

  • At 9:28 PM, Blogger Attila The Mom

    Oh dear.

    <---sneaking off to hide now

  • At 9:49 PM, Blogger Rhonda

    ATM: hahaha. It wasn't your fault, silly. Unless you were the one who fed the dog moldy bread.

  • At 10:02 PM, Blogger Nikki

    Oh Rhonda, I'm both happy and sad for you. Happy that you have the freedom to clean up dog yack, and sad you lost your work.

    I myself keep my tech people busy with probing questions about my computer, like...

    "How do you turn this thing on?"

    "What's that flashing thing on the screen? A curser? Don't you mean cusser? And why would they allow that on a company computer?"

    I'm soooo smart.

    P.S. I hope hubby didn't have to get to many stitches and is on the mend. :D

  • At 8:31 AM, Blogger Fat Pants

    I have little self-discipline even working outside the home I tend to wonder in my thoughts and daydreams. At least you are about to keep your sense of humor.

  • At 10:39 AM, Blogger Marie Jarrell

    HI*LARIOUS. Isn't it just amazing how we become magnets for family needs and crises when all we wanted to do was to have a tiny life of our own, just for a few hours? I can't tell you how thirsty my plants look, how pitifully the dog hangs at the door wanting a walk, how dirty my floors look, or how gamey the toilet smells when I'm home. And I don't even have a home business (*group shout* "And the world is a better place for it too, Missy.")

  • At 11:03 AM, Blogger Kim Ayres

    There's other ways the day can go too.

    9.05am - kids are safely at school, switch the computer on, check blog - oh look there's been 4 comments overnight. There's one from Charlie, I'll just see if he's written a new post before I respond to it.

    Oh, I'd better do the same with these other ones

    Oh look, a new commenter. He's not been here before - better take a quick look at his blog.

    Can't tell much from the latest entry, let's read a couple of the more recent. Ok, let's read the first couple, they usually tell you why someone set up the blog...

    12.30pm - right, let's get some work done. What's that belly? You need to be fed? Surely not, you've only just had breakf... oh, it's lunchtime

    1pm - Oh look, someone's commented - I'd better see if they have a new entry up. Hey, that comment on thier entry was pretty smart. I don't recognise that name, let's just check their blog

    3.10pm - why's the alarm going? Oh no, it can't be time to pick up Meg from school already? Damn

    3.30pm - OK, Maggie's taking Meg out with her to get a bit of shopping. I should get some work done. Oh wow. A killer idea for a blog entry. Better write it down before I forget

    5pm - I'll just upload it. Oh no, I should have proof read it first - that sentence doesn't make any sense. I'd better just correct it

    5.30pm - Whaddayamean dinner's nearly ready? I haven't started working yet...

  • At 5:27 PM, Blogger Rhonda

    Nikki: Too funny. And thanks for the happy thoughts, too. I really *do* love what I am doing. I'm just amazed how much easier work is when you actually set aside 8 hours a day to do it. Oh and, The Philosopher required no stitches :)

    Fat Pants: Hi and welcome. Thanks for stopping by! I know what you mean about the self-discipline.

    MJ: Know what you mean about the toilets and the dog, lol.

    Kim: That was hysterical. I suspect Maggie and The Philosopher could start their own support group.

  • At 10:54 PM, Blogger Kathy

    Aw Rhonda, while you might not see any work projects finished, you did a lot. Your daughter didn't have to stress about missing schoolwork, HUGH help. Your other half got to philosophize (ha ha, new word?) to you, I wish I got that much time with my SO without fighting, lol. Your pup needed you, and you were there. Housework, especially smelly dog vomit laundry doesn't do itself.

    Anyhow, congrats on your new business venture, I'm sure it will be a roaring success.

  • At 7:17 AM, Blogger Mia

    First a warning; I know my spelling is at-ro-ci-ous. Did I spell that correctly?

    My thoughts on your day~

    Yes but look how much you DID get accomplished! You displayed your apptitude for veterinary medicine and performed doggie duty, attended to the scholastic needs of your child, gardened (through osmosis), pondered the meaning of life by placating hubby and spent time learning about the impermanence of things like a Monk making a sand mandala or something. One minute the work is there, the next minute...POOF.
    That is hugely productive my dear!

    But still I have to wonder...................what in the heck is DUCK bread?

  • At 12:27 PM, Blogger Rhonda

    Mia: LOL, I like your creative spin on my day.

    Duck Bread (n): 1. Bread not fit for human consumption, slated to feed the ducks in the pond on the back forty. as in: Kids: "Mom, this bread is growing green stuff!"

    Mom: So? Go feed it to the ducks.

  • At 4:05 PM, Blogger Rhonda

    Kathy: Thanks, lol. The other half read this this morning and is being awful quiet today, lol.

  • At 9:39 PM, Blogger Rel

    Well if anything Rhonda, you made me giggle :)

    Is that you in the picture with the dog?

    (i should be doing uni work hehe)

  • At 10:15 PM, Blogger Rhonda

    Rel, hi! I'm so glad to see you - and really "see" you in your new picture. I keep checking your blog to see if you're back :)

    Nope, that isn't me in the picture. Anyone who knows me would tell you that couldn't possibly be my office because it's actually neat and organized.

  • At 5:06 PM, Blogger Charlie

    I was self-employed for well over twenty years. So what did I accomplish in well over twenty years? Absolutely zilch.

    And I'm damn proud of it.

  • At 7:03 PM, Blogger Rel


    haha well now i want to see what you really look like too :)

    I am snowed under with uni work!! Going in to hand in two assignments today, somewhat of a relief, for now anyway. I am planning on posting again this week. So stay tuned.

  • At 11:21 AM, Blogger frankengirl

    Rhonda, I’ve just read your “The Joy of Self-Employment” post.

    You are a wonderful story-teller - :)

  • At 8:57 AM, Blogger Rhonda

    Frankengirl: I am flattered you think so. I just love your writing.

  • At 5:26 PM, Blogger Peter O'Connell

    I'm self employed and run a sanctuary for abandoned ponies (two Shetlands at present). I've also got a dog and three cats. I dare not tell my clients that my animal friends always come first, after my children that is. Self employment is all that is left to those of us who don't want to be swept up by the hard grind of regular, soul destroying work. Sure, I could earn more money, but then I would lose my freedom and self respect.