One of the things I do besides Detours&OnRamps is marketing consulting. I work entirely from home and though at present I’m working about 60 hours a week–which is way, way, way to many–I wouldn’t, couldn’t ever go back. Here’s what’s awesome:
- I see the baby all the time, I can hug her and squeeze her (and let’s be honest and with full disclosure, I can nurse her spoiled self) during conference calls, what-have-you
- My commute is to my dining room.
- I can do laundry, clean bathrooms, pick up toys, queue up dinner, etc while working. And I do.
Here’s what’s not awesome:
- I see the baby all the time and sometimes (often) she chooses her moments and YELLS during conference call. And it seems that I have a phone with a sensitivity of a gnat’s wing so if she breathes heavy those on the other end can hear it. Never mind that when I dial up my twins when I’m on the road I can’t hear a THING they are talking about.
- My close commute does not include passing by a bar to meet colleagues for happy hour and scheduling wine with the twins in the kitchen is simply not appropriate (at least at 3pm, therein lies a slippery slope).
- I have to do laundry, clean bathrooms, get dinner ready–besides work.
Ok so with all that said there are other goods and bads–I get to work with lots of different clients, and all those clients–since I’m the consultant–are free to blame me for anything and everything.
And I wouldn’t change it, I love it, and here’s a prime-time example of how it REALLY works.
I’m running a series of executive-level conferences for financial services guys. The head sponsor, Peter Montoya Inc–embodied by my employer-now-friend/employer Peter–loves virtual employees. I run his conferences and have done so from home, up to and including taking only a few days off while having the baby in August to plan the November conference in Sonoma. Though I’d tried to dial down my business during the baby’s first month, that was the one thing I stayed tuned in to–and it gave me a great anchor.
I brought the baby, my oldest, and my mom-as-nanny to the conference. I set up the cocktails, jumped back to the room, nursed the baby, jumped back to the party. I spent a day listening to presentations with a couple breaks for kid catch up. I’m doing the same as we speak (the twins are left home with Grandpa for the second and clearly last time–if they got left behind again it would have to be to attend pre-scheduled therapy sessions!) It’s a lot of multi-tasking. It takes an understanding boss who actually wants my oldest to attend the “bring a spouse” activities–a whole new personal level of engagement that makes this meeting with execs “warmer”.
Here’s what’s awesome:
- I’m chilling out at the Ritz Carlton with my two kids and by definition can’t wear my normal sweat-pants gear. Rock on.
- I’m being treated nicely by the RC staff, who say “My Pleasure!” when I ask for something unlike those in my family who throw themselves to the floor when asked to put a dish or jacket away. NO one has thrown themselves to the floor yet!
- I pulled my oldest out of school to come. She’s been getting wicked ornery and squirrelly. She was last fall too. The chance to pull her away from her twin sisters and re-connect (not to sound like Dr. Phil) was HUGE. This sounds awful but instead of loving my kid, with some frustration–I loved her and LIKED her, too. Reconnected.
- I get to give her this amazing experience to see this gorgeous hotel, hang at the pool–with her grandma–have a nice dinner, see cool things–and see how mommy can make work, work.
- Awesome fact for my mom, she gets to hang with my kids and get told 1000x a day “I can’t believe you’re the grandma!!”. This is my mom’s all-time favorite thing.
- I go places I couldn’t necessarily go, now. I’m paid to do so. It’s one last link to my old live of glamorous corporate travel. If I have to haul both my briefcase and a diaper bag, it’s a tradeoff I can make. If I share my king-sized bed with a kid–that’s fine too. If I have to say no chilling at the bar because I have to get back to my kid–that’s actually an awesome thing too.
I am so blessed and lucky, I feel, to be able to do this. I mean, not all the time. It’s annoying to do a lot of it–babysit lots of travelers, handle all manner of myriad details like creating and tweaking and alphabetizing nametags–enter the junior staff who love this kind of task. But the goods so outweigh the bads.
Is Peter ahead of his time in counting on me and letting me balance this way? Maybe. But a lot of folks I come in contact with, in this world, have similar models. So I’d say you can look around and figure out your own “cool situation”–and you may be surprised where you find it.
I was in touch with Peter as a client 10+ years ago. We stayed in touch. It all worked out. That’s the topic for my next post–when you network, without even trying. But what I’d say is if you’re torn about walking away from your corporate job, because of perks you’ll give up–don’t give them up…at least not without a fight. Because “working” at the Ritz Carlton is very sweet indeed.