Monday, February 05, 2007

I'm still here!

I know it's been a really long time... but I've been very busy.

I have gone from living each day with the idea that it might be one of my last to trying to live life as though nothing ever happened. I'm not sure it's the "right" approach or even the "best" approach for me. But I have definitely fallen back in to my workaholic ways for better or for worse.

Actually, after falling back in to these habits, I've been going through a bit of depressing times for a while. It's not that I haven't learned anything from my experiences. I still consider everything after September 2005 as Life version 2.0. But it's that the old habits I've gone back to are not that great and tend to show me that I hadn't really gotten life down that well in the first place.

I had some serious problems with my banking accounts for a while which I am only just now pulling out of. It's not the bank's fault. But I do have an awful tendency to spend money that's coming long before it arrives. Then by the time it arrives it's already spent and it only goes to fill a cash-flow hole rather than actually producing something productive. I'm hoping that the concept that the bank doesn't want me to be overdrawn again will force me to learn how to keep my professional and personal bank accounts in the black rather than always in the red. Only time will tell if I've figured out how to change my lifestyle to allow for this.

Every now and then (actually daily) I briefly contemplate what I would do if the disease came back in some other form one day. The fact is that if it does and my cash flow is negative I'm not going to be able to survive financially through the battle and I'll be fighting two battles simultaneously which will only make things more difficult. If I can get my act together and keep my cash flow positive rather than in debt than it should reduce the battles I might have to fight in the future. Sounds great when I read what I'm writing...

Imagine me standing in front of a room of bored and tired men and women like me. I start with "Good evening. My name is Derek and I am a workaholic." and I believe everyone replies with "Hi Derek" or some other such nonsense.

The fact is I am a workaholic and probably always have been from very early childhood. Again Life v2.0 should be different. I should have learned something from all of this. But here I am back in the same old routine of working most waking hours of the day and not much else. I should be spending more time with friends and family... especially my family. I would love to sit around with my wife and kids in the evening and talk or whatever it is that families do in the evening. But there I am back down in the office in front of my screen trying to get yet something else done for the next morning as the entire world will collapse if I do not.

I still haven't got this one figured out and I'm not really sure I can. I love my work, and always have, and I love my friends and family. I just can't seem to get my priorities straight. I think part of it comes from no longer being an employee and the feeling that I just have to constantly give that extra bit to keep my clients for if I lose my clients I lose everything. Every now and then I also realise that working all alone in my little office in my home is not always the healthiest of options either psychologically or physically. Every now and then I miss the days when I had other geeks working with or for me. At least I had someone to talk to, show off to and who understood...

Money and Time
This is where I've really just gotten everything all wrong. Although I have a very bad habit of spending money I don't (yet) have, which doesn't help, I certainly don't manage my business as I should. I am a genius technician, and ever so slightly self-confident in that area, but I am probably a lousy businessman. It's tough having to be both the salesman and the technical expert especially when the only thing I sell is my technical expertise. With the amount of hours I work and the complexity of what I do I should be a bloody millionaire by now or I should be earning a hell of a lot more money per annum than I do... several times as much. I work probably twice as many hours as most employees (70 instead of 35 per week) and yet I earn less money than most employees and certainly less regularly. This is mostly due to bad management on my part as I don't have actual contracts with any of my clients. There are no guarantees and there is no set down rules as to how they should be billed for my time. It's a tough call as I always want my clients coming back for more but I also don't want them worried to call upon me as they would a lawyer or another type of consultant even though my function is almost exactly the same.

I guess like everyone else in the world, spoiled as I am or not, I just wish I had more time and more money. There were a lot of bugs in Life version 1.x and a lot of them are reappearing in Life version 2.0. I need to start thinking about Service Pack 1 to create an entirely new and improved Version 2.1 especially if life itself forces me to have to work towards a Version 3.0 some day.


I will not try and write about all that has happened since my last entry as I just don't have the time, or the memory, necessary.

I'll just start with today and move forward whenever I can.


Arlene Erb said...

For some strange reason I can relate and perhaps take some of the blame for all of the above..maybe by the time you are 60 you will arrive at a solution to this problem...neccessity is the best..blah the meantime don't give yourself a hard time and cross over to the sunny side where you more than deserve to you...Mom!!!!

Karen the Treasurer said...

I or others can help with balancing the bank account but unfortunately not with the lifestyle change.
What you haven't mentioned here is that you are a very, very generous person and you give of your time and money to those around you that very much appreciate it, which explains why there is not very much left of either for yourself at the end of the day.