Thursday, May 15, 2008

I'm lucky, really I am (most weeks)

It's time to write about how lucky I am, because I need a reminder.

Now of course we'd all like to be independently wealthy without the need to work for a living at all. You know, those lottery dreams. I am not THAT lucky. And job-wise I had kind of a rocky road for a while, after having worked 18 (that's EIGHTEEN) years for the same marketing company and getting into a golden-handcuff kind of a rut. That job moved me and my belongings AND horse from Massachusetts to Utah when they opened a small office there. I could've easily worked there till retirement. Then 9/11 occurred and cuts had to be made, among them the small Utah office.

I was in love with the West and didn't want to go "back home". So I took a job in Washington with the VLSC (very large software company). To their credit they too moved me, belongings and horse from Utah. But it was a bad fit, at least the job I landed in. After 14 months we parted ways.

I started freelancing with the company I had spent 18 years with, and I got involved with a project that ironically had the VLSC as a client. It was right up my alley -- loads of technical database marketing detail, the type that causes most people's eyes to roll back in their head. After a year (during which I acquired unhandled PMU horses and had no insurance), the VLSC moved this project from my old agency to a new one. The folks at the new agency faced all of the technical detail with more than the average amount of eye-rolling.

Suddenly I was desirable. I could do for new agency what I'd been doing for the old, making sense of the data morass. Thus I was able to get some "considerations" -- I did NOT have to move to San Francisco where new agency is headquartered. I did not, in fact, have to work in an office at all. I could work from home on the farm and have full benefits. I leapt.

And there I remain. I have no commute, which becomes more and more wonderful with each passing dollar per gallon. I have no work wardrobe (scary, really). I enjoy what I do and I'm valued for it.

And then there are weeks like this one. Sometimes there is more to be done than is humanly possible. My remoteness makes communication among peers difficult, especially so when I'm floundering under unattainable demands. I have some major gaps in understanding and information critical to what needs to be done NOW. So I have to remember that there are valleys to match the peaks, and I will surely get out from under this stress. And it's really just irony, not a vendetta against me, that landed this particular peak right in the midst of foalwatch.

No I haven't ridden or worked with any of my @#$% horses this week. I feel guilty and cranky and exhausted. I'm not sleeping well, even between the ringings of the alarm that tell me it's time to glance at the fat mare on the foalcam again. I don't need any more obstacles than I already have, because I am not good at overcoming obstacles.

But I AM lucky... aren't I? I guess I'm opening myself up to hear about those of you who drive four hours a day (uphill both ways) and STILL come home and ride 6-8 horses (and work out... and volunteer... and... blah). But I deserve it I suppose! Come on, shame me, LOL. Maybe that'll work.


fuglyhorseoftheday said...

LOL well I'll be happy to bitch about my commute to you more often! FYI, IT SUCKS. Particularly trying to round the 167-to-405 curve coming home. Blech.

I WOULD kill for a work-at-home gig but at the same time I understand the kind of difficulties you're talking about. It's hard enough accomplishing anything productive in a meeting where you're all present, much less the conference calls that we've all fallen asleep/zoned out reading horsey stuff online in the middle of.

I think you've touched upon a much bigger issue here: the problem MOST of us face where the amount of work required to provide for our furry money vaccuums interferes greatly with our ability to enjoy said furry money vaccuums.

If I had the solution to that, I'd be working from home selling it!

cdncowgirl said...

What timing... I too am having work issues right now. You should read my most recent post "From Good to Bad" if you want to commiserate. lol

bigredhorse said...

For the most part, I guess I'm pretty lucky too. As long as you don't count the credit card or hospital bill debt, or the fact that my husband lives in a differnt state 700+ miles away and I'm raising 2 boys (6 & 10) alone for the most part, or the fact that I have to work M-F, 7-6 to pay for the house, kids, dogs, chickens...and "furry money vaccum" (Love that FUGS!) that I HARDLY get to ride. But who's complaining, lol! At least we're all pretty healthy (this week) and I know that all of my animals love and appreciate me even when my husband and kids don't! :-)

furnacelady said...

Good one Fugs, I call mine my “fuzzy four-legged psychologist”.

Not long ago I was a work-a-holic, working as the general manager of a small business and running like a maniac. My whole world revolved around it, and the responsibilities were burning me out and making me ill. When we sold the business, I was totally exhausted and took a few months off. I vowed I’d never be the boss again.

When I decided to go back to work, I also decided that I wanted to stay in the trade and do residential sales. This meant I set my own appointments, and worked on the road. I no longer wanted to live to work, but instead work to live.

The upside was that I could now schedule, within reason and depending on the time of year, more riding time. This also meant I had more time for my passion, training. I work longer hours the first three days of the week so as I can ride Thursday afternoons. I refuse to work weekends and ride both those days. On Saturdays I usually end up at my riding buddy’s house after a day on trails, being the BBQ queen.

This is a much better and healthier way to live! K

June Evers said...

I have my own business and work long hours, especially in this economy. I have an office I have to drive to but it is only about 5 miles away. The horses are at my parents. It's a 5 mile or so triangle; office, farm and my house. Really not bad but WAAAAAGGHHH?!! I want to complain too!

I work so hard that I'm usually so tired when I get to the barn and then I have mucking, feeding, whatever that needs to be done. Most of the time, riding or fooling around with the horses suffer.

NOt much to say except I'm hearing you!!!

Except I recently broke my ankle in a non-horse related farm accident. It's my right ankle and I can't drive so I am spending less time in the office because I have to rely on others to drive me. I also have my friend and parents doing the horses. Asides the guilt, I am the most rested I've been in years. My business is suffering but you know, maybe being exhausted all the time is not the answer. Work less, make a little less dough but enjoy life and get the rest needed.

But I'm hearing you! Great blog!

Redsmom said...

I worked from home for awhile and it was great, but no benefits. I didn't have horses then. Now, I commute about an hour each way and although I have a desk job, I feel tired at the end of the day and want to veg. I did ride after work one day last week and I rode both days on the weekend. I have to make myself delegate. I made my daughter do everything to get her horse ready and I had to be okay with the fact that she forgot his wraps, etc. I had to call for her and her little friend to come rake out the hay shed when I started getting heatstroke. Still, I feel overwhelmed at times, like looking at the MANURE that builds up outside and the laundry that builds up inside. You won't always be on foal watch and you won't always be having these work troubles. I won't always have such a small pasture and my daughter will continue to grow and take on more responsibilities with the horses. This too shall pass and you'll be in another peak. Just remember to enjoy the peaks.

fssunnysd said...

Okay, I definitely can't whine in this company!

I currently commute less than 5 minutes to work, and I get to LEAVE on time most nights during the summer, so I really have no excuse for not getting more accomplished. No, the horses aren't right out the back door - yet - but they're comfortably located about 5 minutes away from home, and when I have to travel or can't get out to see them one evening, they're taken care of. But it wasn't always, and won't always be this good.

When life isn't cooperating with your goals, try to let the horses be your stress relief, not an added stress. Focus on the little accomplishments, and it's amazing how quickly they turn into big ones! Be thankful they're healthy, you're healthy, and you aren't missing riding/training time due to injury or illness.

LOL - I've come to the conclusion that progress with horses is a lot like with sit-ups: just when I've decided they're NEVER going to do any good, my husband says, "hey - you look really good in that!" (Of course, I suppose he could just be sucking up to get out of helping with fencing....)

My3Arabs said...

I don't envy you at all. I couldn't handle that kind of stress when I did work as an executive assistant for a security co.

So my job is to be a stay at home mom who happens to home school a very outspoken 9 yr old son. At the end of the week we are sick of each other and need a break, lol. He goes to the park with his dad on Sundays and we all go and ride Noggin, our TWH gelding, on Saturdays and every other evening.

I hope that you don't have to endure this stress for much longer!