alas, problogger, we hardly knew ye


Creative Commons License photo credit: piccadillywilson

You may recall that I was going through a rapid-fire decision process related to my choice, for lack of a better word, of a job. I had a startup contact me, an offer of an officer position with a investment bank and a new contract position all come at me in the space of a day. The contract position was immediate and required an immediate decision.

Another option which I didn’t really discuss was tossing caution to the wind and turning down everything and continuing my problogging. What I discovered about problogging was this: you can’t do it at home with two small children…or at least I can’t. I am sure that many people have the ability to slam the door to their writing office shut, or head down to the local Starbucks or whatever they choose to do to remove the distraction of kids. I don’t. I have never figured out a way to block out the presence of my kids, or the necessary level of selfishness (for lack of a better word) to tell Bubelah to take care of everything while I work. My son drives me nuts (a lot), but he’s got my ear. If problogging were generating the largest portion of our income, I would have to lock the door for a few hours a day to get anything done. Alternatively, I would need to stay up til all hours or wake up early, but that’s easier said than done with two small kids. I’m already down to six hours of sleep per night, and that’s often interrupted once or twice. Since I hardly set the world on fire with my problogging – my productivity actually went down over the last month – I didn’t feel much incentive to continue doing it.

The contract position in the end was a no-brainer.
We bought a new car for cash, had a baby and neither of us worked for almost six weeks. We have part-time help for my wife, who’s recovering from her C-section, and in the end I wanted to go back to work before we had to touch our “real” savings. We had exhausted our go-to-hell funds (buying the car, paying for a lot of baby-related expenses, etc.) and soon we’d be going into our emergency funds. We have enough for a year or two (if we scaled back our fairly frugal lifestyle) but neither of us were anxious to divert money away from wealthbuilding that long.

So the contract position offered a good opportunity to start the income flowing in again without making any significant sacrifices in terms of my participation in our family life in the short run.
The commute is much shorter than my commute to my previous client, saving almost two hours per day. The work is interesting – I’m part of a team reengineering the finance process at a corporate level for one of the biggest corporations in the world, with a LOT of freedom to do it how we see fit after internal employees, frankly, couldn’t get it done. I am scared to say – because I know how these things go – that I am ever so vaguely interested in my work for the first time in a long time.

On the other hand, it was wrenching to stop “working at home” problogging
. I think when you work a 9-to-5 type job you can assume that life’s always harried. When you have a self-directed job like problogging, it’s amazing how easily things like doctor’s appointments can be accomplished. Most corporate employees and consultants know how wrenching it can be to schedule appointments around your work committments. You can direct your own time – with, of course, the huge caveat that if you have young kids at home THEY actually direct most of your time.

But in the end until I’ve built up my wealthstreams to a level where they cover our expenses and a little excess for investing, I don’t think I can give up consulting. So I’m back to The Collective, so to speak. Resistance was futile. I’m trudging up Wall Street every morning with thousands of other suit-and-tie people. I look around a see a lot of tired, out of shape (and this is New York, where everyone walks) and stressed looking people. Most of them, like me, aren’t ready to give up their income, for whatever reason: they don’t think it can be done, they actually like the stressful job or they are simply coasting along in entropy. But I’m back in with my teeth gritted and my determination to get far enough ahead by 2017 to get out. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m increasingly convinced it’s from sunny beaches and not from an oncoming freight train. That’s nice.