Saturday, December 29, 2012

Stress (i.e. the case of the disappearing OA)

If you've been around for awhile, you know that Husband and I own our own business. No, that does not mean that we don't have a "real job", or that we can take time off whenever we want. We don't get sick leave, vacation pay, or anything along those lines. If we aren't here, we don't make money. If we don't make money, the kids don't eat and bills don't get paid.

A year ago, we brought another artist in, to join us. The thought was that we would now be able to get more time off work. We might actually get that elusive thing called a vacation, that we hear so much about, but had yet to see for ourselves. (As a side note, a day or two off of work, is not a vacation. It's a few days off.)

Fifteen months after bringing Other Artist (from here on, we'll call her OA) in, we have yet to catch that vacation. If anything, we have been here even more. OA is technically an independent contractor, so we can't set her hours.

When she came in, it was mutually agreed that she would work Sundays and Mondays. It let the studio be open seven days a week, and gave OA two days of not competing with us for clients. She would also work three other days of her choosing. Looks great on paper, right? Well, it isn't so good in real life.

As I said, OA is an independent. That means that when she wanted eight days off in September, we couldn't say anything. Eight days off in May? Nothing we could do. When she took 16 days off in November, we couldn't say a word. When a friend passed away in August, and she was gone for a week, we couldn't say anything. Four days off in June? She's an independent.

However, since our advertised hours are now for seven days a week, we couldn't very well shut the place down. Can you guess who got to cover those five or so weeks off? A gold star if you guessed Husband or myself.

There is an advantage, we - ok, the business - get to make all the money, without paying a commission to OA. But, money does not buy happiness. Nor does it buy stress relief. In fact, working 24 days in a row without a day off, actually buys you quite a bit of stress. Enough stress that it starts affecting your marriage, and your children.

Enough stress that you start to question if your marriage will make it. Enough that it comes down to both of us going to see a counselor. His magic answer? We work too much. It is why we are so hateful to each other, and why we have gotten down right mean. His prescription: Take some time off work, leave town, relieve some stress. Too bad it took us spending $130 a week to find out what our problem was.

Again, looks awesome on paper. I mean, we have OA here to make sure we get more time off, right? Not so simple. You see, three days after being told this, and telling OA this, she took yet another two days off. (If I've added right, that's about 44 days off work this year, not including normal days off. So, we'll add in about 100 (That comes to what? Let's see, 44 + 100 = 144 days.) Again, there were sick and personal days taken off in there, too. So, if I had to guess, it was closer to 165 days off work for OA, in 2012.

Care to guess who got to work these days?

P.S. An average working person gets 2 days off a week, which is about 104 a year. If the working person is lucky, they get seven days of vacation time. That's a total of about 111 days off a year. OA got approximately 54 more days off than the average person. Husband and I got about 54 days less than the average worker. If my math is right, that's 50 days off a year. That comes out to less than a day a week. But, wait, there's more. On our days off, we still have to come in about 20 days a year (adding up the hours that we come in each week, on our "days off",  is where I came up with the extra 20 days.) to return email, get projects drawn, place orders, open the doors, etc, etc, etc, etc. Woohoo!! We got 30 days off this year!!


  1. I believe if I were you, I would just run away from home! I feel rather spoiled with my FOUR vacations a year, PAID! (but then, I don't own my own business...)

  2. You are very lucky! We were going to run away for a few days for New Years, however, since the price of the motel jumped from $89 a night to $174 a night....I'm thinking it may not be in the cards.

  3. I say shin kick OA. Running your own business is not all it seems to be to those looking in. I grew up with parents who owned their own business. I feel for you. I'm also liking the running away idea....

    1. Well, on a good note, we did get to run away. Found another motel within a mile of the casino, for onlu $79 a night. Room looked great, bed was comfy, had swimming pool, hot tub, volleyball, billards, basketball and more all inside, and a restaurant and bar on site. They also had a free shuttle to the casino. This all became a very good thing, when a snow storm that was supposed to drop three inches, ended up dropping 14 on us. ;)