I received an invite to a meeting next week in work – sounds fair enough, I’ll pop up for the day – until I read the full description “The client expect projects to be executed out of offices (not home working)”.
This strikes terror into my heart because I’ve said before “I’m not going back to the office”. So, do I stick to my guns and bite off my nose to spite my face?
When I received the email I was pleasantly surprised because it might mean a day up and down on the train (£22.80 is the cheapest ticket) or a drive in the car (£20 petrol) and a chance to pick up some firewood on the way back.
I also enjoy meeting with people and client meetings are a good time to get to know someone. You can send a thousand emails to John Smith of ABC plc and not know anything about them, but a 5 minute chat over a coffee can leave a lasting impression. So, a day out and a chance to meet my colleagues (whom I’ve never really met) and the client sounded great.
Unfortunately, I read the full message which stated:
I can decide to attend the office for the day – book a few hours, spend some time going up and down and meet people. That’s easy enough. But do I want to start working in the office (a full 60+ miles away) 5-days a week? I don’t want to do it and I need to work out if I will do it anyway (hypocrite), negotiate reduced days of maybe 1-day a week, or respectfully decline.
My view now is that I’ll ask to only work if I can work from home and if not, respectfully decline and ask for work on other projects that have less demanding clients.
Will it work?
I don’t know. I would essentially be withholding my labour. I wouldn’t even expect extra pay. An extra £20,000 a year is about £10/hour – but I’m not asking that. It’s a funny HO-MExican stand-off.
My own discipline lead supports WFH and we discussed it just a week or two ago. I explained my situation and she agreed that if the quality of work is good then it should not matter where you do it – but the big bosses differed in their opinion.
If I’m offering the same quality of work, delivered from the comfort of my own home – what’s the problem.
I’d even wager that I’m more productive as I don’t waste time in the office (like I used to).
I am of course a contractor who isn’t tied to the company in this case – just as they aren’t tied to me (no expectation of min. hours worked etc…)
The work has been interesting and well paid – especially once work related expenses are either non-existent (no more commuting costs) or deductible as business expenses (mileage, home office equipment).
Lucky Strike all over again?
I wrote a post about what Madmen can teach us about Financial Independence and said that if you are too reliant on one client, then things can quickly fall apart if they leave you. This Client is a pretty big client right now – not quite Lucky Strike.
The Company is my Lucky Strike and as much as I have a side hustle and an abundance of assets to live-off, the Lady works of course, I don’t have much in the way of paying work.
Am I going to take out a full page ad saying that I’ve given up work?
There’s no easy answer. I’m happy enough to quit working – there’s no bluff. I’ve got other involvements which might be more rewarding (if not financially, rather in other ways) and the time between dropping the kids off in the morning and picking them up in the afternoon is short. Work encroaches on our personal life in far too many ways. I’ve spent about 15 years putting work first and my life second.
Covid gave me the chance to work from home and have a much better life. I’m not going back to the office – I’m adamant. Of course, I’m pragmatic and 1 day a week won’t be hell?
All I need to do now is carefully write an email which says that coming off arrogant and burning my one last bridge. Because, it’s a lot easier to keep a job you have than to find a new one.