Posted by: bkivey | 25 November 2015

Closing Doors

Some of the  work I do often requires a partner. My usual partner was unavailable this weekend, requiring a substitute. I expect that if someone can’t make it to work, they’ll make an effort to secure a substitute. I’ll be working my end, because jobs have to be covered, and the customer isn’t interested in failings on the part of the company they’ve hired to meet their needs.

The deadline for this exercise was 1600 of 25 November. I had to give Labor Ready time to find someone for the weekend if other efforts were unsuccessful. When the usual suspects failed, I reluctantly turned to Craigslist. My experience with hiring off Craigslist isn’t good. It may well be called ‘Flakelist’, as people who swear they’ll show up for a job often don’t. It’s also common for people looking for work to suddenly become very particular about the pay and work they’ll accept.

I found a guy who looked promising, and left a VM and texted them about the work. The response was that they were interested, but couldn’t talk at the moment because they were engaged in another job. That’s fine. I texted that they should call me at their earliest opportunity.

I’d set a deadline of 1600, but was willing to stretch that a bit as Labor Ready is open until 1800. While waiting on Craigslist Guy, I secured labor for the weekend. My text to Craigslist Guy informing him that I’d found someone was met by a return text of ‘Please take me off your list’.

On one level, I get this. A job was on offer, and was withdrawn. I understand that this person was planning on working the weekend, and then having that opportunity withdrawn. But I’d made explicitly clear when I needed to know their status. While I was willing to make time concessions, there are limits: I informed him of the change around 1700., a full hour after the stated deadline. As a manager, I have to get ducks lined up as soon as is practicable.

Here’s the deal. If you’re looking for work, and work comes along, it’s incumbent on you to make that happen. People looking to hire aren’t going to be waiting around for you to get around to making contact. They’re working to make the things that need to happen, happen. It really is a case of ‘You snooze; you lose’.

But there’s another dimension. By cutting off contact, this person has reduced their options. They’ve closed a door. It’s likely that I’ll need help at some point in the future, and given the business climate, sooner rather than later. I’m looking to grow the business significantly in 2016, but Craigslist Guy won’t be part of the effort.

Days Off

I took the day off prior to Thanksgiving, and of course Thanksgiving. I’ve never worked Thanksgiving or Christmas, and God willing, never will. In the Book of Blair, those holidays are sacrosanct.  I took 25 November off because I could. It’s an uncommon experience to have two consecutive days off. I’ve had jobs where I worked 8 – 5  with weekends off (and six paid holidays), but while self-employed, those opportunities don’t exist. It’s a common myth that the self-employed choose their work schedule, but the reality is that customers choose your schedule for you. This often means working 6,7,8 or more days consecutively.

Since working March and April straight through in 2013, I’ve made an effort to schedule days off the same as I would jobs. It’s an effort. You don’t want to give up work, but on the other hand recognize the need for time off. And when you’re running more than one company, days off from one effort don’t necessarily translate into days off from another.

I’m not complaining.

I choose to do the things I’m doing. I like it, it’s fun, and I wouldn’t trade my life for anyone else’s (OK, maybe there are a few jobs). But it is oh-so-nice to have a couple of days off. The first day you sleep in, maybe get some work done. The second day you feel relaxed but with the spectre of work coming up. It’s not an imminent doom; you’ve got time to prepare.

You can relax. Get some work done: maybe. No pressure. It’s nice.

Weekends: what a concept.


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