From Famine to Feast

I’ve escaped from the flat to the pub.

This is not a hardship. I know this.

However I have had a little shock to the working system recently and I am to be honest, exhausted and exhilarated in equal measure!

About three weeks ago my three day contract with my corporate client was due to come to an end. It hadn’t really been working for me. I didn’t really feel that I was utilised and it’s important for me to feel like I’m adding value. Because it was a fixed three-day-a-week contract I also felt quite tied as I couldn’t do anything else on those days. So come the Wednesday I was all ready to pack up the laptop and pop the permanent out of office on when my boss called and asked me to stay because there were some specific things she wanted me to work on.

I’m not a natural negotiator when it comes to ‘me’. Put me in front of an Executive team who are at odds with each other and well yes, I can negotiate between them very well. As it turns out – 18 months of working for myself have actually turned me into a negotiator. So I’ve accepted the extension but on my terms i.e. no fixed days just an assumed delivery of what is expected and billed accordingly. And I am loving the work I am doing for them!

Because I didn’t know that this contract would be extended I found myself some other work. A rather sweet little contract with an organisation in an industry I’ve never worked with before. And I’m finding it fascinating! I’m going to be a bore on logistics at any dinner party I’m invited to! I love it though. I spend every Tuesday reading a mammoth set of industry insights that are sent to me and produce social media messages on behalf of that company. I’m also doing a lot of ghost writing for their employees which I really enjoy.

On top of that I still work for London’s largest (and best!) wine school. And over the past couple of weeks whilst the bosses have been on their hols I have been looking after the administration of the school. I’ve loved every moment of it as it’s given me a super insight into the running of their business and dealing with people. I think I have found a new skill in customer service and sales and for those of you who know me and my impatience know this is not natural to me. One of the many things I love about the wine school is that I truly believe I am adding value to a family run business with the same passions as me.

Over the past three weeks all of my clients have demanded (in a nice way) work from me and I have to say it has been incredibly busy and I have been juggling all of this over the seven day week. I get that those in full time perm jobs (like I used to be) will probably be ‘whatever – we do this all the time’ but since I left my perm job and probably since I started working for myself last November I have never been so busy and yes it was a little shock to the system.

But my personal ‘to-do’ list was falling completely by the wayside. I look in despair at my flat that needs a really good clean – it’s tidy but it needs a really deep clean, I look at all the administrative things that need sorting (new tariffs on the elec/gas for example), a terrible new pet insurance quote that I need to sort, all the events coming up that I need to plan for, the fact I need to get to the docs to sort out this hip injury, the fact that the left hand side of my bottom teeth desperately needs a filling (it’s so sensitive). And to be honest I haven’t had a day off working (and I mean over the seven day week) for months now. I want to take Rex out (which clearly I do every day but I mean for a long country or beach walk), I fancy a staycation and I’m so busy I can’t.

But…

Having said all that. A couple of weeks ago I spent Friday night with my friend Michelle whilst her husband looked after Rex. We went for a swim, sauna and jacuzzi (and general all round gossip) and when telling her about my new found work predicament she said ‘if you could have known 18 months ago – or even at the start of this year – that you would be so busy with work you’d be jumping for joy.’

And I would.

And as my friend Lee said to me – the thing with contract working ‘It’s feast to famine’ so you need to take advantage of everything that comes your way to help you in the moments when it doesn’t. He’s so right.

So back to my original statement. I’ve been so incredibly busy and bar a couple of evenings haven’t been out. Because I haven’t managed to give the flat the deep clean it needs, and slightly because I’ve been going stir crazy I decided I needed this afternoon to deal with all the personal things I need to deal with so I’ve come to my lovely local with Rex and as we sit here at 4.30pm I’ve caught up. Strange how a different environment and a glass (!) of wine can make you less distracted and more focused!

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