Viewing category ‘Head hitting brick wall’

Cornered Office

with Mir Kamin

I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.

To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at http://www.wouldashoulda.com/

When multitasking is mayhem

Categories: A mother's work is never done, Head hitting brick wall, Maybe I can pencil in a nap, Now I'm free(lancing)

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Today is one of those days.

Today I have a kid home and a kid who was late getting ready for school. The kid who’s home is boooooored and I am thinking of locking my office door if I am interrupted one more time. The kid at school just called to say—of course!—that my signature is needed on some forms which I already signed but have mysteriously gone missing, so could I please just swing by to sign a new set, pretty please?

I had a doctor’s appointment this morning, which meant that I saw my husband briefly as I got home from that and he left for work. (Thank goodness he was able to stay home with the kid while I went, at least.) The kid who’s home has a doctor’s appointment this afternoon, after which we will likely have to run over to the hospital for some additional diagnostics, which means I already know my afternoon is toast.

There’s a stack of work on my desk right next to today’s “To Do” list, which has seventeen items on it. So far I’ve completed… two of them. It’s past lunchtime and I just got around to having breakfast.

Some days my flexible schedule feels like it’s trying to strangle me.
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Don’t sell out. Which part of that don’t you understand?

Categories: Head hitting brick wall, Now I'm free(lancing), Things you should be reading

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I’m going to tell you right up front that this may be a little ranty. (Rants in my pants!) I’m angry and I’m not going to try to hide that. I’m angry because it aggravates me when people who are supposedly my colleagues do things that sell themselves short, and—by extension—reflect badly on our industry. It upsets me when someone makes a poor choice, sure, but it enrages me when those poor choices start coloring how potential clients might view me. To the people who respond to this stuff with “Why does someone else’s behavior even matter to you?” I say this: It matters to me because it affects the expectations projected onto me. No man is an island, they say, and I’m here to say no freelancer lives in a sanitized bubble. What you do does indeed sometimes affect my livelihood. So you’d better believe it matters to me.

There are two (completely separate) issues stuck in my craw this week that I think bear further examination. Maybe you’ll take a look and disagree with me, and that’s fine. For me, both issues really go to the heart of what it means to have integrity. And if you’ve been reading me for any time at all, you know that I believe you can’t make it in this business for very long without your integrity; you may get by for a while, but eventually it will make you unhireable and/or unreadable.
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A brief banking rant

Categories: Head hitting brick wall, Now I'm free(lancing)

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Perhaps the lesson most firmly driven home to me since beginning my life as a business entity is that I am my business and I need to conduct myself accordingly. My behavior and my work are inseparable, in the eyes of the public. That’s the blessing and the curse of being a freelancer, I guess.

The corollary to this realization is that corporations don’t seem to feel any such similar obligation to provide top-notch service and behavior. Is it because there’s no regulating a business entity to that level once you have more employees? Is it because they just don’t care? Is it because they can’t help it? I don’t know. But I do know that since going into business for myself I have a lot less patience for the business snafus of companies that should do better.

Which brings us to my business banking. Unfortunately.
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What to do when you have a difficult client

Categories: Head hitting brick wall, Now I'm free(lancing)

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Just about everyone has a story about the job where the boss was completely unreasonable, right? For most of us, that story goes with a job we had in high school or college, when we maybe didn’t know how to handle such a thing, but I’m always amazed at the number of grown, competent adults who carry around war stories of the Job With The Nutty Boss. Part of the lure of freelancing, of course, is that you’re essentially your own boss, and you also have the freedom to pick and choose with whom you’d like to work.

But. Being a freelancer doesn’t somehow protect one from having a run-in with a difficult client. And it’s easy enough to say, “Not me! I only choose to work with people I really click with, and I’ve never had a problem!” But I guarantee that if you freelance long enough, you’ll find yourself dealing with some less-than-optimal relationships, one way or another.

Remember how I make tax mistakes so that you don’t have to? I also deal with Crazy so that you don’t have to. Pull up a chair.
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Office, interrupted

Categories: A mother's work is never done, Head hitting brick wall, Now I'm free(lancing)

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We’ve arrived at that magical time of year when I typically sit down to write my annual post about how school is out and the children are making me insane. Except that this year things are a little different, and that’s not the post I need to write; for one thing, this was a particularly difficult school year for all of us (for a variety of reasons), and so the arrival of summer vacation feels like a much-needed exhalation and relief, for a change. And the truth, too, is that with each passing year my children becoming a bit more independent. Sure, we still have “Really, can you not find anything to do? I’m sure I can find something for you…” moments, but at 12 and 10-and-a-half, my days of playing referee and constant monitor are mostly over.

For another thing, right now the biggest distraction to my work comes not from the kids, but from my poor neurotic dog. I wrote yesterday on my personal blog about how apparently some sort of creature has made its way into the crawlspace underneath my office bathroom. And my dog—my poor, dear, 12-pounds-of-sentry pooch—is driving me insane.
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I make tax mistakes, so you don’t have to!

Categories: Head hitting brick wall, My boss is an idiot, Now I'm free(lancing)

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What I am about to tell you is so completely ridiculous it would be totally depressing if it wasn’t, you know, actually funny. Like, not “ha ha” funny but “this is absurd” kind of funny. You know me; I have to find the humor to stave off the freak-outs.

Longtime Cornered Office readers know that I blog about taxes a lot. With each passing year and with each step I take to organize my business, I’m always convinced that next year I’m finally going to get it right, by gum. I mean, sure, I had to make a lump sum payment in 2007 because I’d failed to plan properly, but I did that, learned from it, and moved on. And then in 2007 I had an accountant and I’d made my estimated payments so, despite a few bumps, I was sure I’d gotten it right. I remained sure of that until I found out that my estimated payments were too low, and I ended up owing an even larger lump sum than the previous year (which was sort of adding insult to injury, as I’d been making payments throughout the year). But it was okay! Because 2009 was going to be my year.

You know where I’m going with this, right?
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