Freelancers & No Paid Time Off

Freelancers & No Paid Time Off

JS, Medium

If I don’t work, I don’t get paid.

This has never been something that bothered me, as I have long been the type to work more than necessary and then bring my laptop on vacation and do an hour or two a day while we relaxed.

I have no problem doing a bit of work. After all, I still get the vacation — I sleep in, eat great food, don’t work out, and explore new places. I have fun with my husband and enjoy the trip. I also get a small amount of work done.

But this week.

This has been the toughest week of my life so far.

My grandfather was hospitalized, and he had been sick for a while.

I flew down on the day of Thanksgiving. We canceled the family get-together at my brother’s house and my brother and I booked last-minute flights to go see Grandpa.

We all assumed he’d get better. He spent 2 weeks in the hospital before he went to hospice and died peacefully, in his sleep, while surrounded by all his children and grandchildren. That was the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

He was lucid just 2 days before.

It’s been horrendous.

My grandpa was larger than life. He was a builder, a fixer, and a creator. For as long as I’ve been alive, one of my most vivid memories of him has been seeing him out on the mower or the tractor or any other of the heavy machinery littering his garages and driveway.

He was always under a car, tinkering. Or building something. He would pretend to be reluctant, but he adored helping any of us 3 grandkids fix things. He picked out my first car. He built us a treehouse when we were 8 or 9, then handed us nails and some wood and tried to teach us how to make furniture for it.

He was a self-made man who lived the true American Dream. He started with nothing and created a business of used truck parts and a junkyard, and grew it into an empire. He and my grandma got to live the retirement they wanted, traveled often, and loved us all.

He and Gramma were married for 61 years since they were 18 and 21. I can’t even imagine that type of relationship.

The funeral was Tuesday.

He would have hated the funeral. He didn’t like being the center of attention or religious ceremony. He would have hated seeing people get so emotional and cry over him.

But I guess the funeral isn’t meant for the dead, but for the living. To say goodbye, to pay respects, to have something to see, to hold on to.

I’ve never lost anyone so close to me before.

It has been a blur of family, tears, and yes, even some laughter.

When all the cousins get together, we enjoy it. We love hanging out and haven’t gotten the chance to see each other much as we got older and moved away and started new traditions.

We played Grandpa’s favorite game — poker — with his own poker chips.

We drank his favorite whiskey and we shared our funniest stories of him.

It won’t get easier for a while, but it will someday. He continues to live in my heart and his name will leap off my tongue at the oddest moments. “You know, your great-grandpa used to love this…” to my niece and nephew and to my own hypothetical children.

And while I mourned and grieved and ate bagels with my family, I still had to pull out my computer and do some work here and there. Do the tasks that I do daily to keep my business running and my clients happy. I let them all know what was going on so that they could cut me some slack for this week.

But the stress of this week, the anxiety of the flights, the breaking of my meticulous routine, and the worry over not doing work for my clients has been a bit overwhelming.

I smoked some cigarettes even though I quit over a year ago. I drank even though I’m not a big drinker.

And I didn’t write. This is he first thing I’ve written since it happened.

I will remember Grandpa as the Godfather of our family, I will continue his legacy by living by his teachings and by telling his stories.

Hey, have I told you about the time he took me fishing and we caught a shark…?

Please follow and like us:
Entrepreneur on Vacation

Entrepreneur on Vacation

Entrepreneur, JS, Medium

Living that #LaptopLifestyle

As an entrepreneur, you are basically always connected. Especially when you work from home, you’re always at the office! It’s easy to lose track of time and work too late, or “just answer this email super quick” at 10 pm or on a Saturday.

It’s also your passion, so you want to keep working, keep delivering, keep proving yourself over and over.

You are valuable. You are worth the money. People are paying you because they believe you have the skills to do the work and deliver on your promises. You’ve already sold yourself, now you’re just continuing the work of making yourself irreplaceable.

I get it. I honestly do. Hell, I’m writing this at 10:30 at night on a Monday, sitting on my couch and listening to The Great British Baking Show in the background.

But the thing is, you and I…we deserve a vacation sometimes. We deserve to have dinner with our families without the phone in our hand. We deserve time off now and then.

When I was working in corporate sales, it was easy to leave work at the office and turn my mind to other things at home. I might check my email once over the weekend, but I didn’t feel like I had to be glued to my computer. I took my earned vacation days and I went away for a week, while only checking email and checking in with the office once or twice.

Now, I just spent 5 days in Florida, in gorgeous weather with family, amazing food, a beautiful wedding, and perfect beaches. Every day, I was still checking email and responding, I got work done while I was there, and even spoke to some clients!

Why did I feel like I owed my clients my time off, in addition to the work I do, the meetings, the time, effort, and time on during the week?

For the same reason, I felt guilty when giving my resignation at previous jobs. I did all of the work, and often more, that I was paid to do, I was on time, a hard worker, and a friendly colleague. I helped people as much as I could. When I got an offer from a new company, I accepted it, and then immediately got a huge knot in my stomach. I had to go in and give my notice to my boss, and I was dreading it. I still did it, and was completely professional, but it was scary and nerve-wracking, and made me feel terribly guilty for leaving.

There was no real reason for guilt. I did the work I was paid to do and I was looking out for what was best for me and my career, as you’re supposed to do. My boss wasn’t looking out for my career, that’s my job.

That’s how it is with your own business, too. You’re doing the work you’re being paid to do, and likely more. So why do I feel like I can’t take the weekend off on vacation?

It’s a process. I am trying to let go and take time to myself, and remember that I do great work, and that’s why I have awesome clients who stick with me.

We all deserve time off now and again, and we need to stop feeling guilty for wanting it. It’s a learning process, realizing you don’t need to respond immediately if someone emails you on a Saturday night, and figuring out that they probably don’t even expect it! I am slowly learning to let go, and not think about working in my off hours.

I don’t think I’ll be leaving my laptop at home when I travel anytime soon, though!

Please follow and like us: