and now for something completely different….
I’ve been working for someone else for the past 7 years. Well, it’s longer than that, but when I was working in Poland, I had more autonomy (that’s a whole different post). When we lived downtown, I didn’t mind it. The commute was … maybe 15 minutes, 20 in winter – that’s tolerable, not fun but tolerable. But as the family grew, the downtown apartment life started to get cramped.
So for the past 5 years or so, my 15-minute commute changed to just over 1 hour – one way. Let’s see thats….
About 450 hours a year! Ouch. That’s almost a full month (at 16 hours a day – still have to sleep) … the time I’m wasting sitting in public transit, walking in snow and rain, waiting for trains and buses. Yes, I know I could do something in that time on the train – and I did. Catch up on email or news if I can, listen to podcasts or audio books.
But I could do that just as well from the comfort of my own home!
This was time I didn’t get paid for, I can’t claim it as overtime, even though it’s time that isn’t strictly mine to do with as I please. It’s time I will never get back. Time I could have spent teaching my daughter piano, or reading with her. Time I could use to help my wife taking out the dishes in the morning. Time I could use sleeping in!
So why waste it? While my last position did allow for “working from home occasionally,” the people that did so regularly were often seen as “slacking off.” Not working as those hard as those who put in their “8 hours” (plus lunch) in their cube. Even when they spend the first hour “getting coffee” and the last two often checking the clock, procrastinating tasks to the next day.
That figure though, 450 hours per year,
that’s been bothering me for the last 2 years. So finally I decided to
take back my time, or at least give it a proper try. If I’m wasting
almost a month on the commute each year, I figure I should give it at
least a month to see if I can do better. Either commute less, or better
yet, don’t commute at all.
…. I say “I decided” but really, it’s more like it’s been decided for me. With the recent round of layoffs at my previous place of employment, I got just the push. Yes, I could jump back into the market and desperately look for another job. With another 2 hours of commute time, for another company that may someday be “sorry to see me go but…”.. (and with the economy here being what it is, that’s more likely than not).
I could step back. See just how hard is it to join the thousands of people to make a living working on projects anywhere in the world. With like-minded people, who believe that is not always where you are, but who you are and what you do that matters. Using technologies that were bleeding edge 10 years ago. Spending 2 more hours a day making money or enjoying life – my choice.
My challenge is that I’m not as young as many of the folks that are doing this. I don’t have a buffer that can support us for 6 months to “try things.” I haven’t been planning this for a few months before – I haven’t even been researching this until about 2 weeks back when the “opportunity presented it self.” Just as many opportunities, there is limited time to jump on it – take a bit of a risk – and potentially/hopefully gain the most enticing rewards of all – independence and freedom.
These pages will document this little experiment. My own little attempt at something completely different.