Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Provider's Dilemma: Time

It's the provider's dilemma: either spend your time working to give your dependents the stuff they need to survive and thrive, or spend time with them. I've raised children to adulthood and had many pets, not to mention all the strays of both species I've took in over the years.

Working at home solved that dilemma somewhat for me. Somewhat. The problem was that I was physically there for everyone, but mentally I was far away with my mind on the clients scattered all over the country.

If someone needed me urgently, it was no problem to drop what I was doing at work. But when everything was great at home, the list of daily emergencies at work piled up to the point where I just couldn't focus with a dog jumping in my lap or a kid needing help with math homework. \

Hunny-Bunny sees her daddy
Since I pretty much worked days, nights, weekends and even holidays, it just seemed like there never was a good time to stop and smell the roses, hug the kids, pet the dogs. I had to keep them warm, safe, fed. It seemed like a pretty easy choice to have them safe and fed wishing they had more of my time, than to have more of my time and not be safe, or not be fed.

But this isn't a story of regret. Raising kids, animals and running an empire is hard. This is about looking forward and deciding what's important, and my little dogs are important.

My little dogs are for the most part why I'm out in the country. I still have responsibilities. I still have the provider's dilemma. But we're in a much smaller and easier to manage empire now. So it's not much of a dilemma.

Someday soon I will have my own clients, if I ever finish building my office. But I won't be so overwhelmed, because I don't and will never have some huge overhead like a fancy office in a big skyscraper.

And when the day comes that Zoey jumps on my lap during a client emergency, the world's going to wait while I take that extra 15 minutes so she knows she's a good girl, and that she's my hunny-bunny.

If the extra few minutes to stop and smell the roses is routinely life-and-death for the clients, then I'll find different clients. My own empire will never be desperate enough for those highly dysfunctional client companies anyway.

It's definitely been an adjustment. The other day I was writing some computer code and Ty jumped up on my lap. I put him down and said "sorry dude, daddy's working" and then I picked him back up, minimized the compiler window and played some music while me and my little bro got to hang out. There's not going to be a lot off occasions going forward where I won't be able to pick up a doggie and make the world wait.

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