How to talk about not working full time

August 25, 2011

Following up on yesterday’s post, I have to say, I’m very grateful to have the choice of working full time right now.  I may feel lousy, but at least I currently have the option of doing it.  I know many people don’t have that option.

When I think about what how nice it would be to not work, I wonder how that would be in social situations.  After all, when I meet someone new, so often the first thing they ask is, “What do you do?”  The last time I didn’t work was when I was unemployed.  Being “unemployed” implies that I will one day be “employed” again.  It’s temporary, so it’s socially acceptable.  Plus it was a recession, so that made it even more socially acceptable.

But what happens when it’s permanent or long-term unemployment?  I’ve wondered how I would answer that question.  Today I came across this amazing guide.  It gives some great dos and don’ts, along with fantastic sample answers to questions.

I have an easy answer to that “What do you do?” question now, but one day I probably won’t.  It’s good to have resources to help deal with that when it happens.

How to not not work full time

August 24, 2011

My current goal is to not work full time in a 9-5 kind of job.  Sounds nice, right?  But I’m stuck on the making-it-happen part.

Health-wise, things have been getting worse over the last year.  Working full time is really not helping.  I don’t qualify for long term disability, and even if I did, it wouldn’t pay the bills.  I could get short term disability.  I’ve thought about that.  I’ve discussed it with my doctor and, to a limited extent, with my employer.  The thing is, it would only be a temporary solution.  It wouldn’t solve the problem.

So now my thinking goes like this: I could do some sort of free-lance consulting.  Then I could set my own hours, and keep things more flexible.  When I got sick, I’d lose money, but I wouldn’t have to deal with a boss.  Yeah, that’s a great idea.

Of course, until I get the free-lance consulting off the ground, until I’m earning some significant money, I have to keep my job.  That means that I’m trying to start a business in addition to working full time.  As you’ve probably guessed, this is not going well.  I get a lot of work done on the business once or twice a week, and nothing in between.  Still, I’m trying.  And I’m trying to stay positive, even with setbacks like what I had today.

Today was tough.  There was a networking event tonight.  I know the group hosting it, and so I know a lot about the people who were going to attend: the perfect demographic for my venture.  This was it, my first chance to really get clients!  And what happens?  Last night I started feeling the beginning of a downswing.  This morning, it was all I could do to get to work.  By the time I left work, all I could do was drag myself home.  Obviously, I had to skip the event.

But I know there will be more opportunities.  And until then, I’ll just keep working in slow, incremental steps.  Hopefully, one year from now I’ll be earning enough to at least scale my day job back to part time work.  And hopefully sometime down the road, I can quit my day job altogether.  Now, wouldn’t that be nice?

[And for those wondering about health insurance if I quit my day job, Massachusetts is the place to be.  I can sign up for the state-subsidized insurance and they can’t turn me away due to pre-existing conditions.  Yet another reason to put up with the snow.]

How sick is sick enough?

August 24, 2011

How do you define “sick”?

Ok, now how do you define it when it relates to taking time off work?  Are these two different things?

I woke up feeling lousy.  I thought about staying home, but dragged myself in to work anyway.  Why?  Well, if I thought that staying home would have helped me feel better beyond today, I probably would have done it.  This time, I don’t think that staying home and resting would have helped.  I tried it several days ago and it didn’t do the trick.  I would have felt better today, but not tomorrow or the next day.  Still, it was tempting to just call the boss, say I felt lousy, roll over, and sleep for another three or four hours.  Oh, that would have been nice.

How do you make these decisions?   It’s not easy if you work full time and have a limited number of sick days.  Besides, these sick days aren’t just for chronic illness stuff.  If I get a cold or sprain an ankle, I need to have some sick days left to use.  So what is “sick” enough to make it worth taking the day off?

Yet another reason why working full time with a CI sucks.  Anyone here disagree?

When do we get *our* vacations?

August 23, 2011

Ok, this title sounds a little whiny.  Fine, it sounds very whiny.  But let’s face it, sometimes we’re just aching for vacations from our bodies, right?  Well, I ache for a vacation from mine, anyway.  I want some time without symptoms.  Please don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the days when the symptoms are diminished for whatever reason.  I savor those days.  I use them to their fullest extend.  But there’s never a day without any symptoms at all.

Actually, come to think of it, a day with reduced symptoms is sort of like an almost-vacation, and I think I’d be happy to have more of those, if they were somehow predictable or, better yet, if I could schedule them.  Gee, that’d be nice.  Can you imagine what it would be like to know that next Thursday would be a symptom-lite day?  Or to makes plans with friends and know in advance that you’d feel great, or that at least you wouldn’t feel horrible?  Wow, imagine that…..

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