Monday, March 23, 2009

Decisons Have Been Made

The nice thing about a Transatlantic Flight is the number of hours you have to think. It was 7 hours going to the UK and almost 8 hours coming home. I used the time coming home to give some serious thought about my goals list and what I want to do on the flight back as I mindlessly watched CSI reruns on my personal entertainment screen.

As I've blogged before, I've had to take a reduction in hours from my full time job and not by my choice. I also don't see the job going back to full time from part time. I had hoped that our business would pick up and I could see a return to full time hours. I have been lucky enough to get a part time weekend job to cover the funds shortage. I've had to overcome my own issues about taking a second job and I've made my peace with those issues. BUT I am working approximately 6.5 days a week to earn the same income. The other half day is spent traveling and squishing various personal errands and appointments into that time slot. My free time has drastically dropped to almost Nil and honestly folks, I'm getting physically tired between the work, the travel and my own responsibilities at home. I just don't feel like I have enough time in my week to get certain chores done at home, which I don't. I'm getting caught between my need to get things done at home or even just to rest and my need for cash. Instead of taking a day or weekend off to rest and do my personal work, I'm packing up and going to my weekend job, because I need the cash. When I was employed full time, my goal each month was to cover my car note, which I could do by working about 2-3 weekends a month, that gave me the extra cash and gave me some time off. Not happening now. I've committed myself to working through the first weekend in May, with only one Sunday off for a party I have an invitation to attend. I made that decision to work based on my reduced schedule at my "regular" job and my desire to replace my almost defunct lap top. Those hours will provide me with the additional income I need to make up, cover the cost of the laptop,and cover the cost of my dental visit (oh yeah, I need $400 worth of dental work too).

This weekend was exceptionally tough. Not in the work that had to be done, the work was it's usual, plus some extra animals at the barn, which I knew about last week. I knew we would have a full house this weekend. I just had this overwhelming sense of frustration at the end of each work day that even though I did a job well done at the weekend job, the work at home has been neglected (which it has been). Coming home from work on Thursday, seeing a water leak in my living room and not being able to find the part of the roof causing said leak was discouraging and frustrating. I pulled myself up into my attic crawl space with my flashlight and just can't see to find where the water is coming in. I came home last night and crashed into bed around 9:15 PM, early even for me. My personal To Do list has come to a screeching halt, partially my fault, partially due to circumstances.

So on the flight back to the US, I made the decision to seek full time work somewhere, someplace and then cut back on my weekend job if I could not see or sense a return to full time status. My current job is a cross between a project manager and an office manager for a small company. The perks to this job are it's very close to home, the office environment is pretty good for the most part, I get 75% of my health insurance paid for by the company, I get paid vacation and some paid holidays. I like the work, I like the people, and the office dress is casual.

What I don't like is my boss having a meltdown over the drastic drop in business and IMO a lot of his knee jerk reactions to the current economic situation and some of the ideas he has to save money here at the office (some good, some a bit bizarre). I also don't have things like a 401K plan, retirement options, etc. I'm not getting any younger, I currently don't have a significant other to help offset my expenses, and I'm sure as heck not contributing to my own retirement fund. I'm not helping myself. The other thing is I'm pretty much maxed out on how I can "move up" in this company. I am as far up as I can go, short of buying the company or being made a partner (both not realistic options). Plus to be quite honest, I see another reduction in hours in my future,not a return to full time status, since our business has not picked up and our income stream is down-that would not be a good thing for me at all.

I have a real estate license, but the real estate market is just not happening at the moment and I have no clients. Being less than part time does not help either. One reason I took the weekend job was I was not getting any real estate clients and could not use real estate to as an additional income source as originally planned. I had hoped that when I re-activated my license that I would be able to have a few clients to at least cover my costs associated with the license and additional income to offset the car, contribute to savings, etc. Part of me knows I could be a darned good real estate agent. A lot of the skills I have accumulated in my work life translate well to real estate, I'm good with an overwhelming majority of people, I'm computer literate which helps in searching the various MLS's, I like to read and keep on top of industry trends so buyers and sellers know you are "looking out" for them, I have a nice network/Rolodex of contacts in the field. I have a really good sense of my area's market conditions, my current broker who holds my license has told me that on several occasions. There just are not buyers out there right now.

Part of my is kicking myself for not being a more aggressive saver to my E fund and also allowing myself to have a VERY broad definition of what constitutes an emergency and then dipping into said E-fund. Had I been more diligent about this, maybe I would have the confidence to forgo my current job and move into real estate on a part time basis with the intention to move to full time, the market has to turn around at some point! One fall out from the Bankruptcy is my confidence took a huge hit and I constantly second guess myself with each decision I make. I'm getting better about my decision making, but not where I should be. I hinder myself in that respect.

I made the decision to drag out and dust off my resume and start looking for full time work, either in my current field or a related field AND also make a much more concerted effort to find a way to become self employed and work for myself. I will use the next couple weeks to re-work the resume, start looking at job search engines, and figure out what field I want to pursue work in. I've also started another one of my endless to do lists to assist in this endeavour. This time, the lists will get my attention because the lists will turn into an action plan to put me on my new path.


1) Buy a new laptop for new business. My old laptop is very dated, hard drive is about to crash and does not allow me to connect to the Internet.
2) Price out broadband Internet for home if working from home becomes a viable option (I currently use dial up-gasp, yes sooo 1990's).
3) Pursue online work-Elance, Virtual Assistant work, web design, Virtual Assistant work for real estate agents.
4) Pursue part time work-Continue at barn 3 days a week, currently can provide a steady income stream and that will cover almost my basic living expenses.
5) Give serious thought to entering the Real Estate field on a part time basis-either on my own or as part of a team.
6) If entering the Real Estate field as part of a team, make sure I get a written contract/outline of duties and pay scale.
7) Pursue other part time web based income streams.
8) Work on that E-fund! Now it really needs to be at the 3-6 month mark more so than ever.


1) All of the above PLUS
2) Looking for full time work so that I can move to being 'my own boss' but at least have increased income and more weekend free time.


1) Win the Powerball and say screw it to plan A and B, move to Costa Rica and drink margarita's on the beach.

I'll keep you informed.


Anonymous said...

I am not sure if this will help; but can you look at selling foreclosures either through a Realty Agency that represents banks or Foreclosure companies that do auctions? Today's sales numbers indicates that houses are moving when the prices are right. Maybe your idea of real estate sales will not be the traditional one for a while, but there seems to be opportunities in a different way.

Shevy said...

Plan C sounds good to me!

Seriously, it's hard when the money isn't there like it used to be and when you have to do a little of this and a little of that in order to keep up.

Real estate is cyclical. It will go back up, sooner in some areas than others, but it will. If I were you I'd just try to time getting back into being a realtor so you aren't working like a maniac with associated expenses and very little return.

Bouncing Back said...

Anonymous-Actually, I am looking for an agency that does forclosures. Most of the small local banks try to use local agencies when they have a foreclosure-I'm looking to see if there is an agency that focuses primarily on foreclosures, even if it means a bit of travel, I know my small slightly rural area does not have such an agency, I may have to go to the "big city" for that.

Dawn said...

I am wondering if you could also find working the foreclosure counseling field? You have first hand experience on dealing with bankruptcy, you have great real estate knowledge, your computer skills and ability to work with people would be a big plus.

On another note (as someone who works multiple jobs) you need to find a way to get inner peace. Burning yourself out is not going to help with your goals. You have to have a balance.

As you look at plans, I am wondering if your formerly regular job might be willing to hire you as a free lance contract worker? Cut the benefits, but hire you in hourly at a hirer rate (they would pay a lot less in taxes and in benefits) and you would get more per hour and more flexibility? I don't know how that would work for you - just throwing out some ideas.