Friday, October 11, 2013

When to say "yes"




I'm approaching two years since I haven't been an employee. I've had plenty of work, and the money has flowed well enough, but living on "billable hours" has helped me gain a clarity regarding the activities I do. It helps me know when to say "no". I've found there are three ways to see an activity and I think of these are tier 1, tier 2 and tier 3.

Tier 1: I get paid for it
Simple. Billable hours. Sometimes it's $35, sometimes five times that much. I'm not afraid of putting in hours, so even $35 is ok. It keeps food on the table.

Tier 2: it may lead to me getting paid for something
One of my current best income streams at the moment had a lot of this. They weren't even trying to abuse my goodwill. They were just dithering as they took their time bringing me into the fold. Plenty of tier 1 work from them now, though.

Tier 3: I like to do it
Having a glass of wine with some friends on a Friday night, sitting on a committee for a sports club or a board of my kid's school, coaching his footy team, supervision of two great PhD students. I like to do it.

Note I have left out tier 4. Duty and obligation. Without an employer there are no soul crushing meetings or mind numbing paperwork, under the guise of "it's part of your job". Tier 4 activities are reserved for family and closest friends, and I get to choose who I feel that sense of duty towards.

There are too many who don't recognise it and abuse it.
So, my saying 'yes' to your request means it has ticked one of the three boxes above. I find one of the challenges is how much tier 2 work to do. There are some who will simply take, take, take and the reality of tier 1 never comes about. Beware the takers.

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