Put Your Money Where Your Commute Is?

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:

“Johnny Yessir from The Client is visiting our office next week for the day. We’ll discuss a few things including potential future Project work.

The client expects projects to be executed out of offices (not home working) as they are all back in the office, so this is an opportunity to show we have a fully functioning multi-discipline office-based team, capable of delivering future scopes, therefore request you are in the office for the visit.”

Choices?

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.

Thanks, GFF

8 Comments

      1. I had free parking and a 5 minute drive to the office. I could walk there in about 15 minutes. It was a great time saver to live so close. I could come home for lunch and eat with my husband, who was often working from home. I missed seeing my friends in the office for work from home during COVID, but at sometime, they started letting us come back only one day a week. It was good to see people and not just their heads on a screen. Of course, I am retired since the end of January, and the amount of time we spend seeing the US is great.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Hopefully you can negotiate some sort of hybrid working which will work for both you and the client. I can’t ever imagine going back to the office 5 days a week, but if the powers that be said we had to, then I probably would (and I’d probably see how I could try to get to FIRE that much quicker!).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Better sort out your dry cleaning and ironing pile – you’re going back to the office, if only until you resign (sorry). Unless your boss is the CEO it’s unlikely to make any difference.

    I’ve taken umbrage twice in my career and left both times – it worked out fortunately, but realistically it meant more hours and more work for little more pay.

    (I Checked with misses B and she said resigning gave me the kick up the arse I needed! Harsh but fair)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My employer is in the final stage of the consultation process to close our regional office and switch us all to remote workers. My office was only a 20 minute cycle ride away and I miss the free heating / tea / coffee and the daily exercise.

    However, being WFH for 2 years ( at least ) gives me back some time to get the dull chores done in my lunch breaks which means more time for fun at the weekend.

    FI employees have a lot more choice than the other wage slaves but taking that initial “leap” can be daunting.

    Liked by 1 person

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