Wait a Second!

by

I am a professional.

As such, my time is valuable.

I don’t have to sit and hold time for you if you can’t confirm for me whether or not you’ll need me until you “suss” things out.

You want me, you pay me to hold that spot.

Well, for Pete’s sake.

It took my fucking long enough to figure this out.

I am learning, it does take some time, but I am learning.

Part of the learning curve for me was seeing a recognizable pattern and doing a quick mental inventory, a spot check inventory, if you will.

What was I resentful about?

What was I in fear of?

What was holding me back from saying what I need?

Oh yeah, and they cannot read your mind, so unless you tell them, they are going to continue to ask you last-minute to cover shifts.

I have a family, not my primary one(s) who change their plans around a lot and it drives me a little bonkers.  They have sent me some texts recently about possibly working some hours and they changed their minds a lot, we need you, we don’t need you, we’re coming, we’re not coming, wait, we are, and are you also available….

People.

Fuck.

I am a professional.

I am self-employed.

If you don’t have the hours to give, fine, I will find them somewhere else, but stop being wishy-washy.

Fuck.

Then, I heard a little voice, “if you’re a professional, start acting like one.”

Oh.

Well, what does that look like?

Number one, my time is valuable (god how many of my friends need to point this out to me before I see it for myself?) and I am worth my pay.

If you are a therapist or a hair dresser or a tattoo artist, a masseuse, or any number of folk who happens to provide a service (um, nanny anyone?) and your client cancels on you, they get charged for the cancellation if it happens to be too late for you to re-book that time.

Most folks have a 24 hour cancellation policy.

I can have one too!

I mean, this is a revelation, I just realized it today on my bike ride home as I was having an internal discussion with the family that sent me a text late in the day about not being sure how the evening was gong to go and they were needing to figure out the details and could they just get back to me in the morning?

“Xo”

What?

Xo my ass, you’re trying to manipulate me by being nice, keep me in limbo and, and, and, my brain was ramping up to get angry.

Wait a second.

I have to communicate my needs.

Jesus fuck, who is this person?

And can I keep her around?

So, I got back to the house after having a few more epiphanies on the ride (it’s seven miles, there’s time) and sent the mom a text saying I had to have 24 hours advance notice to have my time booked.  I was not going to be available.

I breathed in deep and let it fly into the air, carried through the wires by small electronic birds, and let go of the results.

“What if they get upset?” My brain was all curious.

“Who cares,” I replied.  They are not the last nanny gig on the block and I am assured, through faith, experience, and well, the fact that I am constantly being asked if I am available, that there will be others should they get upset about it.

The next thing I realized about being a professional, thing number two, if you will, is that I don’t have to justify my time, how I spend it and what I am working on.

I may just have some spiritual work to do.

I don’t get paid for it in dollars, but the pay off is extraordinary and I have to do it on a daily basis.

This is not to say that I don’t need the dollars, I do, but I don’t have to explain my outside commitments and the work is just as valid.

Or the work may might be writing my blog.

I had one of my room mates ask for a favor I was not comfortable with doing and I did not know how to respond.

So I did not and she came up with an alternative to her dilemma.

Not my problem to fix or solve.

But I had to have a conversation about it and I had to justify, all in my head of course, why I was not available and how I did not want to do that errand for her that late at night in West Oakland.

No thank you.

Especially after doing a 7 mile bike ride home after a full day of work.

Albeit glorious work, my little girl charge is back from vacation and it was such a love fest I am a little embarrassed by it, not really.

What I realized is that I could have just sent a text saying “let me get back to you,” or “no, I am not available.”

But I was too worried about what she would think and needing to justify myself, and wait a minute, my fucking time is important.

I do have a job to do, I have a blog to write and I have photographs to post and I have a life and it does not, tonight anyway, have extraneous time in it.

I don’t have to explain any of it.

Three!

Freedom–“willingness without action is fantasy”.

Fuck, I am finally getting it, if I don’t ask for it, it’s all in my head, ie, fantasy.

It takes some time and work and I still have loads of practice and repetition to get comfortable doing it.

But I still need to ask for what I need.

Which reminds me I have to touch base about the house sitting/cat sitting I am going to do in Cole Valley this weekend and get squared away on what I need to be paid–they can’t read my mind–and unless I tell them they will assume that it’s a vacation for me to stay in their lovely home and I will get mad at myself and eat their cookies.

Not going to do it.

My time is valuable.

I am allowed to be compensated well for it.

It only took me 40 years to figure that out.

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