Like I mentioned in "working it out: part I" the other day, I am currently in the last few days of my long-time job due to an ultimatum I was given in November - work full-time or quit.
So where does this leave me now?
Within the first couple weeks of me getting this news dropped on me, I pretty much did nothing but stress and panic about it. I may have only been working a combined total of 15 hours a week (including my take-home work), but it's amazing how quickly that all adds up. And having dropped off many resumes back in September already and knowing that there weren't a lot of options nearby that would give me the hours I wanted, I was really concerned as to how I was going to make up my financial contribution to the household.
Les was fine if I just didn't work at all and we would just cut back on things - but not only did I not think it was feasible to cut back on enough to cover what I was making, I just felt like I should still be contributing. With both girls in school full-time, there's no reason why I can't work at least a little bit. Enough to help out yet not too much where we run into issues with the girls before & after school or on long school breaks.
I just didn't think there was an option out there for me. With the amount of years I had been with this other company, they had grown very flexible with working together with me to figure out schedules that worked for everyone involved. But to start out at a new company, I would have no say in the hours. I was really prepared to just have to stay at home full-time and start to live very differently.
After a couple of weeks of stressing about this, an idea started to plant itself in my mind. And right about this same time another opportunity presented itself to me as a different possibility. I heard about a part-time position at the local credit union so I dropped off my resume and was called a few days later to come in for an interview at the end of the week. I hadn't been interviewed in almost 12 years, so this was something that was extremely nerve-wracking for me. I was praying going into this interview that I would know right away if the hours would work for us. If it was 5-10 hours a week - perfect. If it was 20+ hours a week - not so perfect. The problem would be if the hours were somewhere in between. So I was really hoping and praying that God would guide me with one of the other options so that the answer would be clear.
About 2 minutes into the interview, I got my answer. The hours would be between 20-30 hours a week. I knew right then and there that whether they offered the job to me or not, I wouldn't take it, but the interview continued - and I still remained terribly nervous! In hindsight I just wish I had asked about the hours before the interview - it would've saved me a lot of anxiety and nervousness! But I suppose it's always a good experience to be interviewed. And it was just one more example of how I needed to step out in faith.
After that experience, knowing that it wasn't the right option for me, I decided to go full-on with my other idea that had taken root in my mind. Something that I don't know why I hadn't thought of sooner. It's a job that has been front & center of my life growing up, a job that I have 10+ years of experience in and a job that has total flexibility where I can make my own hours and set my own wage!
I bet you're wondering what kind of job that is! Well, it's cleaning houses. This is the job that my Mom did while we were growing up (and still does it) and I always loved how she was home for us before & after school. I may not enjoy cleaning all that much - okay, not at all - but if someone's paying me to do it, why not?
With a friend's help (who does the same job) and the teeniest bit of advertising on Facebook, it took me no time to recruit a nice number of clients right off the hop. Right now I have 5 set clients and I will be fitting them in on Tuesdays & Wednesdays which still leaves me 3 days to just be at home. And with both this friend and my Mom's expertise I have gotten lots of tips and advice. I actually started out with some of these cleaning jobs the week before Christmas, as some of my clients wanted a clean before the holidays - but now I won't be doing any cleaning until my other job is officially over (working both jobs at the same time was too overwhelming for me).
My Mom even came with me to one client's house to help me clean it for the first time because of its size. It's a MASSIVE house with 4 bathrooms and the thought of going there by myself for the first time was really taking its toll on me. So with my Mom's generous offer it took a giant load off my shoulders.
Again, there are mixed feelings here. It's great to have found a job to do where I can set my own hours (provided it works for the clients of course and that there are enough clients to fill the hours that I want). And it was wonderful to have God's clear direction as he very quickly opened doors for me and let everything fall into place in such short order.
But I will still miss my other job. I will miss the adult interaction, and this is actually a big thing for me. I tend to hide away behind my own four walls, and my job was a way to force me to get out there and be among other people. Now I'll be home by myself 3 days a week and working by myself the other 2. And I will miss the kind of work too. Not necessarily the boring little things, but the fact that I could just sit at a desk and work on a computer. Boring or not, I do tend to enjoy those types of jobs better than house cleaning.
In the end, of course there are pros and cons to both and really I don't have much of a choice anyway. So I will finish off my long-time job next week and then begin a brand new chapter of my life the week after. Only time will tell how it will all go - but I'm choosing to believe that this is where God wants me. That it's His way of looking after us and keeping me available to my family the way I have been up until now. There will be days where I will wish desperately that things could go back to the way they were - but I'm betting there will also be days where I am very grateful things happened the way that they did.
One thing I was worried about a little bit was that I would be so tired of cleaning other people's houses that my house would get neglected. But I'm starting to think that might not be as much of a problem afterall. One thing that leads me to believe this is what happened the week leading up to Christmas - when I was doing a few house cleans to get people ready for the holidays. I had just finished a week and a half of dealing with sick kids, cleaning 3 houses and working my regular job. I had just come home from cleaning a house for 5 solid hours and I was utterly and terribly exhausted. But because of my schedule - and my lack of energy due to lack of sleep from the aforementioned sick children - my own house was a bit of a disaster. All I wanted to do was sit on the couch and put my feet up.
But I couldn't.
I didn't think it was fair that I had worked so hard to clean other people's homes for the holidays, yet my own home was causing me stress everytime I walked in the door and saw its condition. So I spent another hour and a half working in my own home getting things at least tidied up so I could properly relax in my own house. My back was sore, my feet were tired...but I was determined to give myself the same luxury as I had given those other people.
I have started to change my mind-set a little bit when it comes to cleaning my own home. Yesterday was another day where I needed to do some much-needed cleaning in my own house. I decided to clean my house the way I would clean a client's house. Not just skimming over the surface like I often do inside my own four walls - but a real, true cleaning. It takes far more time of course - but the results are so worth it. So that's how I'm going to start cleaning my house from now on - as if I am my own client. I may not get paid in cash to do it...but that leads me to another way in which my mind-set has changed...
One of the biggest reasons for me turning down the full-time position at my place of employment is so that I can be as present for my kids as possible when they are not in school. One of the ways I can do that is by doing as much of my household chores as possible during the days when I am home and the kids are in school. I turned down the full-time position because of my already-existing full-time position as a wife and mother. If I can talk the talk - I need to walk the walk. So again, that translates into me treating my own home like one of my clients - regular deep cleans on my days 'off' to keep me more available for the girls when they're home from school.
And there you have it. The conclusion to my big work story. Most of you probably had no idea that any of this was going on, with some of you only knowing that I was going to be out of work soon but not knowing what I was going to do next. But now you all know the full story (in a nut-shell anyway).
The story of how, together with God's guidance, I've been working it out...