Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I'm just a girl who can't say no..

to work that is :) I have dreadful trouble turning down work - it seems to stem from 1) the fear that if I turn down work it won't be offered again, and 2) I'm a pleaser - I don't like to disappoint people. I'm going to have to start though. Working, particularly working outside the home, is putting excessive pressure on me and the family. It makes me tired & therefore grumpy, and the stress of getting out of the house at a particular time makes for a very unhappy morning - often ending in yelling & tears (and that's just from me lol). It means Billy is in preschool / daycare for long hours which makes him tired (& grumpy) particularly by the end of the week, and I don't have time to do as many things like cooking & gardening. And we won't talk about the state of the house..

Part of the reason I do it is for the money - I always think "I'll just do it to get the money for x", but then "y" comes along. You know what I've realised? Something new will always come along to "need" money for. We live on Pete's wage ok - not fantastically as we are one of those many "mortgage stressed" families they've been talking about lately - but at the moment my wage is mainly used for preschool (ending in December) and anything extra we want - trips away, purchases etc. Currently it's being used to save for the brewery.

I intend to start trying to cut down all work but particularly the work outside the house - I'm already committed with uni tutoring & some teaching until about Oct. I can start saying "no" to new people, it's hard with existing clients though. How do I say no to someone I've always said "yes" to? Like this week - I'd been asked by a client a couple of weeks ago for a few dates to do some training - I gave him 3 possible dates. He booked me in for 2 of those, so I planned some work at home (BAS etc) for the 3rd date - he then decided he wanted to spread the training across the 3 dates. As weak as I am, I grumbled privately but told him I'd do it. So that's 3 days I'm out this week now, 3 trips down to Newcastle and less time for other things.

Any advice? If I go down the homeschooling route I'll have no choice but to say no, but at least I'll have a reason to give them. But I don't want to use that as a reason to homeschool - even subconsciously.

On a related note, the uni tutoring is unlike what I was expecting. I know it's only been 1 week, but I don't find it very satisfying so far. What I like about training is seeing people light up & get excited when they learn something and I get a kick out of the feedback when I'm teaching. The tutoring is virtually supervising not teaching - I answer questions, and I take them through the exercise, but I'm not connecting with them. I wasn't even sure if they were all alive in some of the classes :) I'm sure I'll connect with some students by the end of the semester, but I have to admit that I'm doing it for the (rather good!) money rather than any satisfaction.

Sorry for such a heavy post!


lightening said... is such a tricky one the whole "how much work" etc. Bit like "how much is enough" when it comes to money - the answer being "just a little bit more".

I think the fact that you're recognising it is a great place to start. Could you consider a maximum number of days you were prepared to do per week/month (or whatever time frame suits you)? Once you've reached that limit you're no longer available. People asking don't have to know why you're not available - for all they know you could be booked with another client that day.

When I was doing party plan stuff I used to cross out days and weeks in my diary and then have it in front of me and be able to tell future hosts that I wasn't available those days. Not that I found it easy (I tend to be soft and a people pleaser too) but as time went on it just became more the "norm" and it did feel easier.

Good luck with it - it's always hard when you're not sure what's around the corner when it comes to work. DH and I have come to the conclusion that there is always money to be made (somewhere and somehow) but it all comes at a cost. It's amazing what we can manage to do when we have to (even when it comes to cutting costs etc).

Kris said...


Reading this post is like listening to an ongoing conversation in our family. I hate saying no, hate missing out and fear no more money coming in ever, ever, EVER!!!

I think the idea of crossing out days in the calendar is a good one. I do this too but I black them out so that I can't put anything in the box. It sounds silly but it works for me psychologically.

I've also been thinking about what I really need. I think you're already doing this when you say money comes at a cost. Looking at our financial situation I realise I don't need more money. Nor do I need the other things that go along with increased hours at my job: status, power (of a sort), intellectual stimulation and travel (when I write it like this it sounds like a good job). But I do need more time, less stress and more sleep. Having articulated and listed my needs I find it (marginally)easier to say 'no'.

Kez said...

J - I like the idea of setting a maximum number of days and blocking them out. I think that would really help me.

Kris - in a strange way I'm glad I'm not the only one :) I hope you have some success in simplifying too.

Lisa said...

I guess I have come to realise this year that you can't buy back time that you spend at work. No matter how much you get paid it doesn't make up for time you miss out on spending with your family and friends. I think the idea of only working certain days is a good one. I hav e aset roster but normally get offered extra hours while other staff are on holidays. I pick and choose what suits my family and have gotten very good at saying no when it doesn't suit me or my family.
I hope you don't mind that I linked you from my blog!

Kez said...

Lisa - I was chuffed that you linked me!

Sounds like a few of us are thinking down the same path with simplifying..