Flannery Correspondence

May 1, 2010

Men Are from Mars: Providing a Living

Filed under: POPS! — BrianOFlan @ 17:25

November 20, 2009

Six months ago, I resigned a stable job to risk working from home on some business opportunities. For five years I had worked with people who hated their jobs yet did nothing to change their situation. I was going to be different. I was going to make my first million before I was 30. What follows is a cautionary tale; feel free to live vicariously through me before you try this at home.

Christa and I spent the first two months fighting over territory. She had the funny idea that the house was hers since I was never around much before. So I threw all her craft supplies away. She put a computer out the window. I threatened her Twilight books and she settled down.

We tried starting two businesses with limited success. Both businesses are now on hold. I also tried working as a salesman. Working from home with young children does not help you project professional confidence. “Hello, I’m calling today to see if you have ever considered the advantages of owning your very own… (Shh. Put that down. Don’t give it to your sister. Well, try to stop the bleeding. Where’s your mother?) Sir, I have to let you go right now but would you mind if I called back later?”

We have way too many kids but we love them and plan on having more someday. We resolved most of the stay-at-home conflict just in time for me to head back out into less domestic working contexts. Forget working from home during the preschool years. You get to the point where those cute babies you wanted to spend more time with become the pests that prevent you from providing for them.

Most important to us is being there for our girls. Before I resigned, I had spent more time in my office than with my family. I had no idea who they were and often went home to the wrong house on accident and spent hours there before noticing. We are grateful for these six months and the chance to be together for a change.

We wanted to teach our girls that “work” is not just when dad goes away for a long time and comes back late and cranky. We wanted them to see it — to see work — to see it as hard but worthwhile — to see mom and dad working together and playing with them together. We wanted our girls to know how money works, how things get done, and how to get paid for serving people, helping people and improving people’s lives. We wanted to show them that business can be a learning game, a manageable risk, even fun sometimes — whether you fail or win or break even — not a terrible mystery to fear.

Jobs come and go. So do careers. But serving people well can become a fulfilling and lifelong quest. (Agree? Disagree? Despise this psycho-babble?)

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