Wednesday, February 15, 2012

STILL working it out: part V

Sheesh, I never realized just how much my job change would affect my life. I gotta be honest - this house cleaning business just ain't my thing. I know people think there are a lot of pros to being a self-employed house cleaner...but with the way I've been feeling lately, all of the so-called pros have cons that go directly with them.

Here are some examples:

1) You can make your own hours. Well, this is true only to a certain extent. Sure, I could be very firm in saying that I will only work Tuesdays & Wednesdays...but more often than not (so far anyway) this hasn't worked out that way. I have had to make changes 3 times in the past few weeks for clients who have needed a different day - either due to sickness or just a change in schedule. It's not really a big deal, and there will be times when I will want to reschedule things due to our own household sicknesses or scheduling changes. But my point is that it's not all just the hours that I want. I still need to be flexible and work around my clients' needs.

Besides, I can only make my own hours as long as I have the clients to fill them. Let's say I want to clean 4 houses a week to meet my budget needs but can only get 3 a week. Not really in my control.

2) You don't have to "get ready" for work, you can just roll out of bed and go. To me this is not a pro at all. I love clothes (as I'm sure you all know by now) and dressing nice for work was always something that I l-o-v-e-d to do. I wouldn't necessarily go all out and fancy, but I would always look nice. Now I dress down to go to work - jeans and a t-shirt and my indoor runners. Yippee.

3) You're your own boss. Uh...not really. In fact it's quite the opposite. I have multiple bosses; currently I have 7 of them. Ultimately I report to 7 people, I get paid by 7 people and I can get "let go" by 7 people. So I'm hardly my own boss.

Those are just 3 examples.

Now don't get me wrong...there are definitely still pros to this job. It keeps me physically active, it's a job where I can see the results of my labour and can be proud of myself, and I am making someone's day by the work that I am doing. And in all honesty, it's not really a bad job. My clients are all mostly tidy and provide me with a comfortable working environment. My worst chore by far is bathrooms, but even that isn't a big deal in most houses since it's kept up regularly.

But I'm just struggling with so many aspects of the job still. One of the struggles for me is the unpredictability. Not just with having to change the date of a cleaning job here or there - but never actually knowing how long someone will be keeping me on for, or if I'll have more people ask for my services and have to make scheduling changes to accommodate people. I have yet to settle into an actual routine, as people and places are changing on a weekly basis.

I started out in January with 5 regular clients. After having gone to one particular home (the last client I met in the beginning stages), I just found that I was very uncomfortable there. I won't go into too many details here on my blog but I'll just say that the whole time I was there I was looking for a reason to not ever have to go back. When I got home from that particular place, I had a message from my friend asking if I wanted another client because she had one that she just wasn't having time for. So I was actually able to drop the place I was uncomfortable with to take on this new place. Excellent.

Then one of my other clients told a friend about what I was doing for her (just cleaning her floors) and so her friend wanted to get me to come to her place to do floors and bathrooms for her as well. Okay, so now we're up to 6 clients.

Shortly after that, this 6th client told her cousin about me, so her cousin wanted to set something up with me as well. Hello Client #7.

And in the midst of all of this, a woman who I cleaned once for before Christmas (who then decided it wasn't in their budget to have a regular house cleaner come) asked if I could start cleaning for her afterall - every 3 weeks starting in March...and likely only until summer. Welcome aboard Client #8.

However, after cleaning for Client #6 only one time (last week), I was informed by her today that she will no longer be needing me. A reason wasn't given, all she said was that if her situation changed in the future she would let me know. So I'm thinking that finances were an issue.

But this brings me back to point #3 from above, about me NOT being my own boss. I was just "let go" by one of my clients, bringing me back down to 7.

I actually also unofficially have a 9th client I, 8th client now I guess. Someone who doesn't want a set cleaning schedule (i.e. every other week or even monthly) but rather that when she falls too behind on things she might call me up and ask for me to come. Well, that call happened for the first time last night. And while I technically did have time to do it tomorrow, I've been under the weather since Sunday and have just really been looking forward to a quiet, relaxing day at home tomorrow. So I told her no. To be honest I'm not sure how often a spur-of-the-moment cleaning request will turn into a "yes" from my end. I feel like I have a full enough schedule (even with my recent 'firing') and I hate having something come up so unexpected. Like I said, there's enough unpredictability with this whole thing already...not sure I'm up for something like this too. Not to mention that by the time she asks me her housework has really fallen behind...

And then to add to this all...Client #8 (who is now Client #7) just left me a message this evening wondering if instead of starting in March, if I can start...tomorrow?!

{Sigh} I'm exhausted. I'm stressed. And now to add to it all, I'm also paranoid. Of what? you might ask. Well, of the reasons why Client #7 decided to 'let me go.' She never actually said it was because of money, and my mind wanders to the "what if she didn't think I did a good enough job?" possibility. And if that's the case...well, living in a small town news/gossip can travel quickly. I'd hate to get a bad reputation when I'm working really hard and doing what I'm sure is a good job. I'm sure her being disappointed isn't really the case, but I just can't help but wonder and worry just a little bit.

And yes, while I mentioned earlier the job itself isn't actually so bad - it's also not what I want to do for the rest of my life. I would love to find a job that I can say I truly enjoy and not just be able to say "it's not so bad."

But until then...I guess I'll just continue to roll with the punches and do my best with what I've got. I'm still home for the girls when I need to be, I'm still contributing to our family's finances. And for now that's just going to have to be enough to keep me going when there are days (like today) when I wish that I didn't have to.


pam said...

I would say no to the "spur of the moment" client too. Cleaning is way more difficult when it's gotten "really behind" (I should know, that's how my house usually is! :P), and you don't need that (especially if you've already got a full schedule). Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself and what you need and want.

TammyIsBlessed said...

Definitely a lot of cons there. I guess one pro is that you still have time to maybe look around for something else that would be even better - once you feel more settled in with your routine maybe.

Jackie said...

I feel for you Andrea...I really hope you can gain some peace with your new job...or maybe eventually find another job you can really enjoy. Take care girl.