This blog post is the final of our “Day In the Life” series offered this summer.
“You are so lucky you can — take time off when you want / work from home.”
I never know what to say when someone says that to me and I have heard this often since I started my HR practice over a decade ago. Being self-employed, I get to work from home and take time off when I want, but does luck have anything to do with it?
I started my HR practice because I wanted to help create happy, healthy and productive workplaces. That is the business reason. The personal reason was to provide health care support and advocacy for my mother who had a stroke and I could not do this within the confines of a 9 to 5 job. The concept of Results-Oriented Work Environment (ROWE) http://gorowe.com/was not around at the time and compassionate care leave www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/ei/types/compassionate_care.shtml#Definition would not have helped since my mother was ill for five years before passing away. I was a typical member of the sandwich generation and I was on the scary path of building my practice around visits to the hospital to support and advocate for my mother balanced with being present with my husband and two teenagers when I was with them. To make a living, I worked on client projects sitting beside a hospital bed and in my home office after my husband and children went to sleep. The ability to work when and where I chose helped the daily juggling of priorities. It kept me functioning during a challenging time and it let me spend precious time with my mother who needed me, balanced with the needs of my own family.
As a self-employed HR professional, I can choose to work in my backyard, in my home office or at a client’s office. I can take time off when I want. But the reality, now as it was then, is that whenever I am not working, I am not getting paid. When I come back, I have to work harder at business development and other non-HR related tasks, like writing proposals and marketing, when I would really rather be doing HR, recruiting and training.
Whether changing a job, a career, or venturing out on your own, knowing “why” you are doing something will get you through the not-so-great times and will make the best times more awesome.
The most important things in life take conscious choice and effort. Luck has nothing to do with it.