Scattered Routine

Routines change. Years of blogging have engrained a Wednesday schedule. That won’t work today. There’s too much going on, and that is good even if it is exhausting. In times like these, when there’s not enough, too much is better than too little. That should change too as I step towards enough.

Wednesdays usually start with breakfast while watching The Daily Show online and checking for jobs. Then the main event was launching into the blog, spreading the news via social media, and getting a run in before lunch. Simple and nice. Today is more complex.

Today includes some eagerly anticipated events that overrule routine. But I had to write something so I did two things.
1) I posted to facebook.
Busy day ahead. So many things going on that my brain’s aswirl. (Blogging, key interview, collaborations, uninstall art, pick up new art, drive up and down the island – will I have any energy left for dancing at Bayview?) Think I’ll start the day with a cup of tea at South Whidbey Commons. Maybe I’ll see you there.
2) I decided to start the blog now and chronicle the day. It is an example of what life is like as an entrepreneur presented with opportunities during uncertain financial times.

It begins at home. Breakfast, shower, then catch up on drewslist and jobs while watching The Daily Show and the Colbert Report. Sitting at home and trying to time the trip to a job interview would be a constant look at the clock and repeated calculations of how long it will take to get there. Skip that. The interview is in Langley. Langley’s a fine place to hang out, and I need to make a deposit at the bank. (Consultations happen. Yeah!) To the Commons I go! But first pack the car with everything needed for every chore of the day, from resumes to empty portfolios to bags of recycling to to dance shoes to checks and such that need to be deposited.

The car hadn’t moved in days. And yes, there were cobwebs across the windshield again. (Cobwebs In The Car)

Langley is as sweet as ever. Dropping by early made it easy to double-check my interview time. Early is also quiet time in Langley and the time for catching up with friends. Maybe it is because of my blog, or maybe it is a common topic, but before my second sip of tea (Thank you South Whidbey Commons for good tea, nice ambience, and free wi-fi) I’d been in two conversations about money, 401Ks, and fundraising. Whether it is for a charity or an individual, there’s a balancing act to asking for money without sounding desperate or unenthusiastic. “Hi, I’m a vital organization that is really healthy, but we really need your donations because we want to keep the lights on next year too.” They ask more than once because they must, and because they know that most will say no, but probably enough will say yes. That sounds familiar. Let me check my list of collaborations that may eventually bear significant financial fruit. Oh yeah, some of them may, but because they haven’t yet despite months of activity, I am interviewing for a job. Luckily, it’s a job I like and never imagined would become available. Discretion means I won’t say more about it until I can tell you what happened. And yes, you know you’ll hear, or read about it here.

It is easy to imagine someone eagerly anticipating a job because of the paycheck. That’s definitely a major enticement, but there are other incentives. A job brings a new routine and much less uncertainty. When I had a full time job it was so busy that many meetings were “walk and talks” as I traveled between yet more meetings. But there was a focus to the day that was more bounded than my typical day as an entrepreneur. Analyzing data, planning and tracking budgets, drawing up strategic plans, and managing personnel issues were diverse tasks throughout a day; but, they weren’t nearly as diverse as switching between art creation, financial management, web site maintenance, marketing campaigns, organizing workshops, installing wi-fi or projectors, sending out thank-yous, and meeting with a string of collaborators who all have different projects, agendas, timings, requirements for discretion, and personalities. My procedural clutch gets used a lot. The bridge between the left and right sides of my brain gets a lot of traffic.

The Commons demonstrates my point. Sitting there blogging while waiting for the interview I also had tangential conversations about my self-publishing classes (thanks for the referrals) and collaborations in a new art form (Trends In Images).

My tea cup is almost empty. I’ll bus my table and then go for a walk through Langley to see what’s happening. Construction is in progress. The Village By The Sea refreshes itself.

Interview time! Excellent job. Helping a community retain its character while invigorating its economy is something too few small towns have managed. It is a treat to contribute to small town life. The interview was like going on a first date with nine people though.

But, hey, there’s time to catch my breath afterwards, right? Nope. My next meeting was in the neighboring restaurant and my collaborator was early. The good news was that we’re making progress and interest remains high. The bad news was that his funding source is in hiatus as it answers questions posed by the SEC. Oops. Well, it was a nice time and day for lunch.

Well, there’ll be time to catch my breath before the next meeting. Oops, hold it. There’s a message via facebook chat. Give me ten minutes, okay? Yes! Her various collaborations are stacking up too.

Almost an hour later and we’ve managed to sketch out some very appealing possibilities that don’t require drastic funding or dramatic machinations. The nice thing is that they fit in around the part time job I hope to get.

So here it is, a marvelous sunny summer day, I’m in long pants, and it is time to jump in the car to pick up my art. This might get sweaty. Minimal collaborations for a while but a fair amount of driving involved. Just to keep it interesting, one of my collaborators wants to include one of the people printing my photos. Is this a web or a network, or both? Add something to the day’s to-do list.

Oh wait a minute or five. I don’t have to jump up. Sit inside the library with its free wi-fi and air conditioning. Relax.

Okay folks, thanks for staying with today’s whirlwind tour of my life. Here we go again.

Welcome to Fine Balance Imaging, the printers of my photos, and the repository of photographic and graphic illustration knowledge; which is why one of my collaborators wants to hire them to help teach a weekend intensive workshop. Stay tuned because Joe said yes. Prints are in the car. (They are translucent satins that work well in windows and are archival quality.) The workshop emails will percolate out later. More emails will be launched as follow ups for the interview. But now, it is time to jump in the car and drive an hour to take down art that didn’t sell. So it goes.

It goes and I went. I went up to the other end of the island to retrieve photos that received months of compliments and no sales. Thanks to Karen at Wind and Tide for trying. We spent less time talking about the art than we did with trying to figure out the economy. We didn’t make much sense of it either; but, we did wonder whether it, and our sales, were being held hostage by the political gamers.

At least the ride to Oak Harbor gave me the excuse to drop in on Gerry Oak Gallery, a place I’ve heard about but never visited. It is a nice collection of talent and diversity. Maybe someday my art and I will be there.

Almost all of the driving is over. I’m at the dance, typing these few words while sitting in the car. The music has started but many of the dancers aren’t here yet. I’m going to sit here, try to catch my breath yet again, and then do something that isn’t networking or business. There’s got to be life in life.

Just past 8:30 and home again. And continuing to play out different answers to the questions asked during the interview. Did I tell them how I’d stick with the job? I only apply if I think I can see it through. Ah, but would that attempt at keeping it light be mis-interpreted? Like I said above, it’s just like any first date. What could I have done different? How long before they call? Will they call?

The car’s unpacked. The groceries are in the fridge. The art is back in my studio/office/spare bedroom. I’m still wearing long pants, which is a rare thing (unless I have a job or interview of course.) It’s time to unwind and herd the bits of my day into their respective cubbyholes. There are even photos of the dance to upload. I didn’t dance enough.

The day had no routine, and while this one was longer than most, its random nature is very familiar. Why would I want a job? In addition to what it says on my resume “A satisfying job that helps make the world a better place.“, and paying my bills, there is an anticipation of a routine. Even the most chaotic job I’ve had at least had boundaries that contained the chaos. Everything accomplished was directed towards a common goal, and that the effort was be positively reinforced with a variety of compensations beyond a paycheck. The life of an entrepreneur has no such assurances. There are always great potentials and opportunities, and they may be realized, but much of that life is based on hope and influenced heavily by luck. A job with irregular hours that can “take over a life” actually sounds more restful than a day like today. Stay tuned and see what happens to my routine.

PS As I typed this just before 9pm, the phone rang with a call from another collaborator wanting to schedule a meeting. Sure. At least as far as I can tell, I’ve got time, but my routine may change.

PPS A note about blogging versus twitter. Yes, I could’ve done this all on twitter, but sometimes a story shouldn’t be fragmented. The whole tells a different tale.

About Tom Trimbath

real estate broker / consultant / entrepreneur / writer / photographer / speaker / aerospace engineer / semi-semi-retired More info at: and at my amazon author page:
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