The new reality (again)

We had our lovely Steelers to see us through January, but now it’s back to winter and the longest month of the year. Four degrees this morning.

Sobering news yesterday via a writing colleague who also works for my primary client — as in, the client who gave me 2/3 of my income last year. As he informed me:

Last Monday a memo came from on high commanding all marketing folks to cease and desist spending on writers, designers, printers, etc. – all outside services. Finish existing projects, but don’t start anything new. There may be a few exceptions – key initiatives that really need to move forward. But the big chill is officially on for everything else. Ostensibly, it’s through the end of the fiscal year, May 31. But I think it will carry into next year.

Big chill indeed. I could feel it move down my spine through my hip into my purse and straight to my wallet. Brrrrrr.

Oddly, Mike’s firm is very busy — staying “lean and mean” (just 5 people across 2 offices) is helpful in times like these.

Of course I’m worried — we are a two-income family by necessity. But I also have a hard time believing my client can get by without any external service providers like me for the rest of the year. Of course, if it does hire people for projects, it may not be me.

Welcome to the new reality. It feels a lot like the old reality that came after 9/11 and at various other slowdowns in my nearly 10 years at this. Ebb and flow. Feast or famine. It’s the nature of the beast.

I have a new, large project in the works with this client, just starting next week, so that will keep me busy for a couple weeks. I also have a couple projects almost completed that I can finally bill for — always a good thing. Beyond that, it’s wait and see. I’m very grateful that we have “only” our mortgage and the regular slew of monthly bills — no credit card debt or car payments. We’re not very good at economizing, though, so we’ll see how that goes. House projects always eat up far too many funds, even though the majority are DIY jobs. We are still far, far better off than a lot of folks, so I can’t really complain.

But I can be extra-vigilant about the work I do have, do whatever I can to be the “smart choice” for any projects that arise, and take the opportunity to get other (office and household) ducks in a row in the meantime. Positive action begets positive results…right? For sure, if I start some big, time-consuming house project, I’ll get slammed with work. Maybe now’s a good time to start stripping wallpaper in the guest room…

Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action.  
                                       ~ Walter Anderson

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