9 to 5

January 5, 2012

I never thought I’d be a ninetofiver.  Well, I’m still not, since most of my days start at 10 AM-ish, but I’m closer to it than I had ever thought I’d be.  The difference though, is that I work at three or four places during my work day, and that is exactly how it needs to be in order for me to stay afloat, mentally/emotionally.

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know many things about my work life, and probably some of my personal opinions and gripes as well.  Something you may not know is that I change my schedule around every couple of years when I’m feeling things getting stale and monotonous.  This is one of those times.

I recently gave notice to a place I’ve been working at for a number of years, and while I’m sad to be leaving residents I’ve grown quite attached to, it is time for a change.  One of the things that is changing, as well as my income (by a substantially negative amount – c’est la vie) is my Sunday-Friday schedule.  I have been working on Sundays for over five years.  If I was working on Sundays but had Fridays and Saturdays off it might not be so bad, but basically I’ve been working six days a week for my entire career (some years it was more brutal than others). Because I’m leaving this one job, I’m able to change things around in such a way that I will no longer be working on Sundays, AND I will never be driving for impractical distances for just one session – well, not as frequently.

I am so excited about this schedule change that I’ve been boring my mother and many of my friends (thanks guys!) with exactly how my schedule is going to change, which new empty spaces in my new schedule need to be filled with something, and what I’m hoping will fill those spaces and where.  It’s all a big puzzle with too many pieces, but I won’t go into that here, lucky for you.

One of the perks of being a contractor, especially one who has been lucky enough to get contracts with places that have very flexible schedules, is that I get to make my schedule almost exactly what I want it to be.  It’s taken years for me to get to a place in my work-life that allows me to work only where I want/enjoy, and where I have the self-employed freedom to take time off when necessary or needed, and I never forget that or take it for granted.  Ever.

I’ve known some people who assumed that the minute they started working, things were going to be easy and work was just going to fall in their laps.  This is not usually the case though, and I must say that while for me, many contracts did fall into my lap, I started with one. I began my music therapy career with one hour a week an hour away from where I was living (this has turned into five additional contracts over the years and a couple of presentations).  I applied for and got a 4o hour (20h music therapy, 20h activities assistant) job after that (this turned into a presentation and two additional jobs and I eventually cut out the activities hours and left that MT job), and applied for and got the job I am now leaving shortly thereafter (which turned into two presentations and two additional contracts), and there were several miscellaneously referred contracts that came about in the middle of everything, some of which I kept, and some that I didn’t. My point, for all you newbies out there, is that if you decide to contract, it is a wonderful experience (eventually) but it takes a lot of work, driving, and patience to build a client base.  And it DEFINITELY doesn’t happen overnight.

I am happy to say, though, that once you build your base, it is actually possible to fill your days with work, get home by dinnertime, and have weekends free.  You just have to wait.  Probably.

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