Seven months ago to the day, I packed a single box of items ranging from pictures of my children to a set of Automoblox. One item I didn’t pack up was a fake desk plant I bought at Fred Meyer a few years back. It was as drab as one might imagine a fake plant to be, but I brought it to work with the intention of using it to camouflage the rats nest of cables protruding from my computer.
I knew the day was coming. I’ve been around corporations long enough to sense when something is not right. So I felt a sense of relief as logged off my laptop, grabbed my box of items and turned off my fluorescent office light for the last time.
When I woke up the next morning I had no idea what to do with myself. Kim made breakfast and packed lunches. My job was to make sure the kids got out of the house on time to catch the bus. Sounds easy enough, but I quickly learned that keeping track of three buses, three lunches and four backpacks is every bit as difficult as staying awake during a meeting full of PowerPoint slides.
One benefit I noticed off the bat was how much time I have when I’m not spending three hours a day commuting to work. That’s an extra 15 hours a week I can spend reading, writing or playing baseball with my kids. I’d become accustomed to being away from home for 12-14 hours a day and felt like a part-time father. These past seven months have allowed me to appreciate glimpses into my children’s personalities that I wouldn’t have noticed when I’m scrambling to catch the bus. Seven months ago I could not tell you what each of them like to read, but today I can.
At the first of the year I started a small business with a close friend which is something I’ve wanted to do for years. I’ve made a number of mistakes, but I’ve also learned more about myself than I have in years. We began without a single client and have kept busy through personal referrals. At times it feels like a roller coaster, but I know the peaks are not far from the valleys.
But tomorrow my schedule will change yet again as I begin a new job at another small business here in Auburn. In the past I restricted my job search to the Seattle or Redmond areas. But this time I began in Auburn and intentionally looked for a position with a smaller company. It paid off, and I’m very excited about the opportunity. They also gave me the OK to continue growing my business. I will write about the company and my position in a later post.
What I take from these seven months working at home is a greater appreciation of my spouse. I knew she worked hard, but I had no idea how much energy it takes to manage school schedules, activities, and appointments for four children. When I left the corporate world, I had one recurring alarm on my iPhone that woke me each morning. Today I have six alarms to remind me when to pickup children from school, piano lessons, or scouts. My calendar is packed full of of stuff I never knew existed, and I’ve learned how to properly comb my daughter’s hair.
Unless a pony-tail is involved. Then my daughter motions to the bullpen for mom.