What I would do if I had the time

Saying I’m unemployed sounds dramatic but I guess it’s true. You go through periods of being unemployed when you work contracts and for me it’s not much of a thing. Since the pandemic, I’ve worked a string of jobs (maybe a dozen) that each last a couple months or more. I’ve been able to take long periods of time off and work when I want.

The past few years in tech have felt like a gravy train compared to other industries. But recent concerns over the economy have caused marketing spend to soften. And now I’ve had to decide, do I wait it out or try something else?

Maybe two days after I settled into unemployment I got a call asking if I wanted more work. I mapped out what I’d charge to write eight, thousand-word blogs. I ran it by a friend who got me the work and he said that’s totally reasonable — which made me wonder, did I go too low?

Everything sounded like we were on but then they went quiet. And sure enough, they asked me to lower my price. I might have budged a little but they wanted me to budge a lot, so I politely declined. And then I wondered if I’d been foolish, but I told myself no.

And now, a full week later, as I’m hanging the laundry out to dry and thinking about what I’ll fix for dinner, what they offered me doesn’t seem so bad. Twelve thousand dollars! Still I’m glad to be a house husband and work for free. There, just say it: I’m glad to be a house husband and work for free. Repeat.

It is a good time of year to be unemployed. Any time is. For a while it felt like summer had a tinge of fall to it and now it’s the other way around. There is still a light smoke about and each day I check the weather to see when it will change. I’ve had so much time to catch up on things I’m now getting to the granular. Changing out the summer-themed tablecloth (yellow) to the autumn-themed one (brown). Cleaning out drawers and closets. Calling in contractors to vacuum the vents, to sweep out the chimney. I might even call about that colonoscopy. Clean all the pipes!

More than anything I just love having time. Time to deep clean the oven, to get the dog’s nails trimmed. To read. The other day I made ratatouille (it took three hours). In a sense we trade our time for money and our hourly rate governs our quality of life. These are the things I think about when I’m not working.

Yesterday my old firm wrote me to say, can I hang on another month? There’s signs things might be changing. And I wrote back right away, yes I can.

Categories: microblogging, writing

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20 replies

  1. 12 stacks for 8k words?! Bill, my boy, we could have split the work and the booty and had this thing locked down by noon! House husbands unite!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Clean all the pipes. Heh heh.

    I’ve been an unpaid house husband for a long time now, and it’s the best job there is. Once I had to participate in the govt. employment survey for a few months and the staffer just didn’t understand how a novelist could be unpaid and still think of himself as “working.” We had a real failure to communicate. Ultimately she marked me down as unemployed, I think, and I said I’d let her know if I ever sold a novel. 😝

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s fantastic. Yeah, I am having so much fun not working; I need to remind myself of that when I have the conflict I feeling I “should,” and am just lucky right now I don’t really have to. I just spent about an hour hanging Halloween decorations.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Keep your eyes peeled for my treatise on procrastination, the house-husbands best friend.
    I hope that day of buellering with Lily went well Bill.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Someone wanted to pay you 12,000 to blog? I guess you couldn’t get away with writing about song lyrics.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah exactly! It’s quite different, can be actual work (and toilsome) so I’m glad I held to my rate. Once you let it go down it’s hard to bring it back up again. Kind of like holding boundaries with your kids you know!


  5. It’s striking how standing is a different place can give you a different perspective. My partner keeps gently admonishing me to kick back and enjoy retirement, but all I see is an empty plateau.
    Favourite bit: changing the tablecloths. It’s so you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I envy people like you who can take breaks like you do. I have a friend who spent the last 40 years working in tech. She’d go to work for a company, stay there for a few years, and then quit. Before she’d start a new job, she’d take months off — travel, putter around her house, do all sorts of things. Then go back to work for a new company for a few years, and then do it all over again. That would have been wonderful if I could have done it.

    Enjoy your house husband position.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Mark…I think some tech companies actually want/encourage people to move around like that. In some ways I think it’s best for everyone. Appreciate the well wishes my friend. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t do a look of seasonal decorating, but this prompted me to inspect my tablecloth and realize it seemed to be trying for an autumnal theme, but the browning turned out to my slovenly/composting approach to housekeeping, an accumulation of toast crumbs and peat moss, I was using it to re-pot some herbs. So into the wash it goes & it turned out I own a Halloween-theme plastic tablecloth, so thanks for the helpful hint! Me I’m still summer-green with envy over your time to spend as you see fit.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Makes me think of Chris Elliot in Cabin Boy: “These pipes… ARE CLEAN!” 12 large sounds real good for 8 x one thousand words but now I what to know what you asked for. I’ve often wondered what working like that might fetch.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I don’t think many people stop to think of what their hourly rate is. I tend to a bit too much, but it makes the work around the house feel much more valuable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It can be a very sobering experience and rarely a positive thing to calculate! The work around the house is valuable for me because it yields a general feeling of stress reduction and calm.


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