The Employment Risk, or I'm Really Good at Not Working

Back to the madness?

Back to the madness?

It might not come as a surprise to you that I enjoy not working. 

I'm good with working, too. I get into it.

But when I’m not working, well, I get into that, too. Not working suits me.

I have not worked a full, straight work-year in a dozen years. Starting in 2001, I began working as a consultant. In my field, we work ridiculous hours doing work that few people want to do, on an unforgiving deadline. Sound like fun? It kind of is, once you get into it. This kind of work requires some recovery time after each assignment. So until 2009, I would typically have a couple of weeks off between these bouts of intense work.

That was the best part of the job: the not-working part. I worked hard. I saved money. I bought a house. But things changed.

  • In 2009, I got married. Yay! I took that summer off for the wedding prep, wedding, and honeymoon. When I came back online in the fall, I took a full-time job.
  • In 2010, I took 12 weeks off for maternity leave. Yay!
  • In 2011, I was laid off. I managed to find new full-time work very quickly, but delayed the start date for a little bit and had a nice break.
  • In 2012, I took 12 weeks off for maternity leave. Yay!
  • In 2013, just as I was wondering what it would be like to work a regular job for 12 months in a row, I was laid off.

And here we are. I’m not working and I am enjoying it. I’m cleaning the house, working in the yard, playing with the kids, starting a blog, doing my taxes... If someone asks me to show up for work at 9am Monday, it would be a real shock to the system.

But if I don’t find a job soon, that could be a big problem for the Frammitz household. So I put out a few feelers, applied to a few places, posted my resume on Indeed, and in a little over a week, I am at serious risk of employment already.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m giddy at the prospect of being employable at a time when people all over are struggling. I’m lucky; I happened into a niche job that few people want to do and fewer people are good at. I wouldn’t call it a vocation, but it suits me. Not as well as not working does, though.

This week, I am trying to make a decision. One option is a consultant/full-time combo, giving me schedule variety yet still getting benefits. It’s a compelling offer, even more so because they volunteered that if I want a couple of weeks of downtime before I get started, they’re ok with that. It’s like they read my mind.

However, it would mean crappy commutes for me most of the time, an hour or more, the kind of commute that I have been deliberately trying to avoid. This creates inconsistency of presence for my little guys, too, which causes them to act out because that sucks for them.

I could keep looking for a full-time position with a good commute, but that could take longer to find. With delay comes stress, and what’s the good of downtime if you’re going to be all stressed out about it?

However it turns out, I will be back to work later than I should be, but sooner than I’d like.