the newest problogger on the block

boy jumping in pool
I am joining the ranks of authors of blogs such as Lazy Man and Money, Get Rich Slowly, The Digerati Life and The Simple Dollar and becoming a problogger! While my blog may not be on the scale of theirs, I am excited to announce that I will be a problogger soon!

For about a month.

One of the beauties of contract consulting (to me, at least) is that the contracts come to an end. In this case, the contract couldn’t have come to an end at a more perfect moment. I had planned on taking unpaid leave under the FMLA to stay home with Bubelah when our daughter arrives. However, it turned out that the client managed to hire a permanent employee for the position I’ve been filling for a year (after I turned it down – I am too spoiled for a “regular” job now) and decided that having a consultant back up a junior exec just wasn’t a good idea in these tough economic times. I was ready to move on after a year, as well, and had been sending out feelers for other projects for a while, too.

So at the end of April I’m done with my client.
It’s been a good client and I’ve made some good (work)friends there, but I will not be sorry to see it go. The 1 1/2+ hour commute had begun to drag on me, and with summer approaching I’m hoping to get some quality toddler-soccer time in the evenings if I can work closer to home. I’ve already had preliminary talks with a Wall Street client (don’t believe the hype – most Wall Street companies are doing just fine and conducting business as normal).

But between now and then I will be problogging!
This is my second test run (after a five-week break last year) pretending to be financially free. What I learned the last time:

The Good Stuff

1. I am still very disciplined about getting up early, even when I don’t need to be.
2. My son didn’t get tired of seeing me all day, every day. Not a bit.
3. Bubelah and I actually get along very, very well with both of us home. I think the stereotype is that couples would get irritable if they are around each other all day, but we actually found that it makes for a much smoother and easier division of labor according to who wants to do what, and that means everyone is happier.
4. My spending (other than fixed costs like the mortgage) drops significantly. When you’re at home and you have the time to economize (and need to) you tend to do so. When you work outside the house, sometimes you rush to the quickest (i.e. least frugal) solution (for example, take-out dinners).
5. I’m happier. This may sound like a given, but it’s not. I know plenty of people who cringe at the idea of a non-working life. They prefer the offices, the interaction with their colleagues, being defined by their jobs. It’s not a bad thing – everyone should do what they like – but I found that I have absolutely no problem with not working. Last year I used that time to start up this blog, learn a lot about finance (yes, there’s always something new to learn, even for an accountant/MBA) and just enjoy my family.

The Bad Stuff

1. I eat much healthier food, but with the kitchen right there I tend to eat more of it. Grazing will get you, even if you graze on carrots all day.
2. I have a tough time tearing myself away to “work.” I am hopeful that other than a few days around the birth of our baby I’ll be able to force myself to write at least a couple of hours per day, and not put all of my blogging off until late in the evening. I get too caught up in playing and relaxing.
3. I lack focus. I got a number of projects done, but I do let myself get caught up in what I think of as “new project syndrome” – hey, I need to start an herb garden…when actually what I need to do is fix that squeaky hinge that’s been on my to-do list for six months.
4. It isn’t permanent. As much as I like these intentional breaks between contracts, they can’t last forever. I know it’s not permanent, that I need to go back to work. My blogging income isn’t as bad as it was in my GOAL update, but I think I make more in one day consulting than I make in one month blogging. Blogging might buy a few books, but it’s not going to pay the mortgage – so I know that these breaks aren’t going to last. Soon, though!! (snaps rubber band)
5. I’m happier. I know I listed this as a good thing above. But if you have to drag yourself back to The World of Cubecraft after you’ve taken the months of May and June off (with all of the nice weather), it puts a sock in that happiness. This time I’m resolved to use that as a motivator to get rich quickly and eliminate my NEED to consult.

So stay tuned; starting in about a week I will be the latest Problogger in the PF world… at least for a while!

Creative Commons License photo credit: Fรกbio Pinheiro

31 comments

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  • Best of luck in your time off! I’m certainly jealous right now, especially with the weather nice and seeing my wife and kids off this week (it’s spring break and my wife works for dept of ed.).

    Everyone needs some time to recharge their batteries. Looking forward to seeing how this time reflects in your writing.

  • That’s awesome Brip! Can’t wait to hear about how it goes. Good luck! Are you going on a different schedule now? More posts, more projects?

  • Congratulations.

    You seem to have prepared for this well enough, having even done a trial run.

    I enjoy your blog very much as I am sure many, many others.

    Keep us posted on the progress, especially on the expected new member of the Brip family.

    Best regards

  • You’re choosing the right time not to be strapped to a desk. I just look outside all day…I have a hard time focusing at work!

  • This sounds like perfect timing with the new one soon to arrive. I hope your break is jsut long enough to help you focus on the things you need to accomplish and give you enough time to bond with your new child.

    Then I hope you can find a better consulting gig closer to home. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Good luck!

  • This seems like perfect timing to me Steve.
    Good luck!

  • Sounds good! I’m on a four month break myself at the moment and I have to admit that it’s no picnic with two kids.

    It’s hard for me to get much done other than at nap time or in the evenings so it’s not like I have oodles of free time.

    Mike

  • Can’t wait to see what new subjects you come up with – and BTW – I’m ENORMOUSLY envious! ;o)

  • Hey, congrats!
    I have the feeling you will be working from home long-term pretty soon, so this will be a great practice run.
    “I am too spoiled for a ‘regular’ job” I hear you!

  • Good stuff. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think as you’re a consultant, this is a particularly wise. You have so many more options open to you…even for taking periodic and very short contracts. It’s not quite as dramatic as leaving a job you’ve been doing for 20 years.

  • Congratulations! And enjoy your problogging time! I guess I kind of did it while I was on maternity leave last year, but I was nowhere near as organized or top of things as you are. I’m sure your time will be incredibly productive and the seeds you sow will bear fruit long after you go back to your consulting gig ๐Ÿ™‚

  • This is awesome news. I have a problem with the lack of focus sometimes. I’m getting a little better, tossing aside full hours to focus and write. If I can get a more portable computer, I’ll escape to a coffee shop or a park to force myself to write.

  • Thanks all – it should be interesting, and as Mike said I’m sure that with two kids it’s not going to be all writing and blogging! I am pretty motivated to make it work, since it’s hard to have a goal of working at home if you can’t force yourself to work at home when the opportunity presents itself.

    But I will do my best! I’m excited about it, and more importantly excited about our baby – with spring slowly emerging it just feels like “new baby” time.

  • Enjoy! You deserve it! This is one of those big ones that goes in the “why you DO want to be a consultant” category. How does it work in terms of getting paid? Do you hoard your money so that you can just spend as usual during this time?

  • I like your thoughtful and insightful articles that you write. Becoming a FT blogger would make you even more interesting IMO.
    Enjoy your break while you can.. Spending time with your family will be your best reward imo.. I remember when my dad had a 2-3 month “break” when I was a child. It was awesome!

  • NO #($%(*%! WAY!! WOW, Congratulations man! That’s FANTASTIC! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Isn’t it a relief? ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’ll be keeping tabs on your journey. I get excited about people doing this and what they love. It validates this form of work.

  • What a blessing for your children, for you both to be able to be home with them – Awesome!!!

  • Congrats… crazy stuff going on around the blogosphere!

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  • It’s great to have options and be able to take the time off from traditional work. Nice Going.

  • Hey Congrats BripBrap (Steve), you’ll make a fine addition to the lot!

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  • Congratulations Steve! Very exciting news. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • Thanks again, everyone! I’m definitely enjoying it so far ๐Ÿ™‚