People still constantly ask me if I’m happy with my new situation. I am, as my dissertation adviser used to say, guardedly optimistic. In terms of day-to-day life, things are pretty damn good. I do a little bit of work in all the areas I need to–teaching, business, and home life. I don’t feel like a hamster on a wheel, trying to respond to email in the short term and at the same time, make mid and long-term plans. I have time to eat a leisurely lunch if I want. I can even take a bath in the middle of the day. Being able to determine when I work is, quite honestly, heavenly. I end up working about 5-8 hours a day. And I’m increasingly not really paying attention to the number of hours, but to whether what I wanted to get done on a particular day actually did get done.
The guarded part has to do with money. Right now, I have the part-time teaching gig that brings in a tiny, tiny income, but it’s something and it’s something stable. We haven’t completely adjusted budget-wise to the loss of my higher income. In theory, we should be fine. In practice, shit happens. Car repair, taxes, unexpected kid expenses. We have less of a buffer for those in our income. We have savings to draw on, but ideally, we’d leave that alone.
Part of what I do every day is look for work. I have emailed people and I’m working on ways to get business for myself, but it’s slow work, especially when you don’t have much of a budget. I’m pretty flexible at this point about what I’ll do. Consulting has a kind of high-minded sound to it, and certainly I would love to serve as the adviser on a big technology project or be the inspirational speaker at a campus retreat. But, I’m also willing to get my hands dirty and do some of the grunt work that’s often necessary for any educational technology project. And, I’ve done things that are not that related to my business plan just for the money and the experience. And, honestly, the variety is good for me. I like looking at the big picture and getting involved in the details (maybe not at the same time, though). Sometimes it’s nice to be able to work on the innards of a blog site rather than think about blogs more abstractly. To me, the two are related, but it’s a difference between what parts of your brain you use.
I believe eventually, I will find business and that I’ll start getting paid, and I’m not freaking out over the fact that I don’t have a steady paycheck (yet!). I’m enjoying what I’m doing, what I get to think about every day so that the money doesn’t much matter. My satisfaction level would certainly rise to near 100% if I had more steady income, but I think 90% is pretty damn good for now.