Last week, I felt like I’d never work again. Work had pretty much dried up since Christmas. If I’m honest with myself, I hadn’t had an awful lot since the summer. It was sporadic. When it came in, I dived on it and got on with it. I devoured it, I savoured it.
And then it was gone.
All I had was my daily social media for one client and the children’s books I use to write educational materials.
Looking for work had never really got me anywhere, but I’d been looking on and off since October. And, guess what?
It didn’t get me anywhere.
I made £67 out of it, editing a website for a small business. The small business may come back to me again and I will be happy to help out again, but it’s not going to make my fortune.
By last Wednesday, as I finished my penultimate children’s book for February, I was close to tears. I thought the work would never come.
I was having to face up to the reality that we wouldn’t have all the holidays we’d hoped for this year and we wouldn’t get our horrendous ensuite bathroom done. First world problems, I know. We’ve got a roof over our heads, we don’t go hungry and we have our health. I shouldn’t moan. But I felt sad about it. We really, really need that bathroom done and, when your husband works as hard as mine does (approximately 14 hours a day), holidays are really important.
A lot of my work has always come from PR firms with too much on. It gives me variety and it gives me the all-important money. But I can’t rely on it. It comes and goes and it’s unpredictable.
But maybe I just needed to contact more PR firms. Contacting small businesses certainly wasn’t coming up with the goods.
So I contacted about 15 local PR firms. And heard nothing back. I contacted some London firms too. I got a few ‘we’ll keep you on file’.
And then, on the very day when I thought all was lost, I got an email from a local PR company, wanting to know more about what I could offer. Could I go and see them the following day?
So I did. And it turns out I was just what they were looking for. There was talk of 20 hours’ work a week. TWENTY HOURS. That actually IS my working week. I will have to work longer hours to squeeze my other work in. I’ll have to give up sorting out washing and doing little domestic tasks in the day.
Give up cleaning the bathrooms? Bring it on!
I may have to run less, which makes me sad. I will almost certainly have to blog less, which is a shame.
But I need work!
When I gave up traditional work, I was looking for the work-life balance. That had been missing for a while. Not enough work didn’t mean more life. It meant half a life. Hanging around the house, reading blogs for something to do, chasing work that would never come, being afraid to spend money because I wasn’t earning any.
It was making me unhappy.
I want to be there for my kids. I want to take them to school and pick them up again. I want to go to school events whenever I can. But I also need to work for my sanity and my bank balance (and the mythical future ensuite bathroom).
Knowing the work was coming, I felt like a different person.
Lighter, happier, with a spring in my step. I was completely different from the person I’d been the day before. I was a person with a purpose.
And when I got home from my meeting, one of my other contacts had been in touch to offer me work for the first time in two months.
It’s kind of like it never rains, but it pours. Only in a good way.