I Pee for Free

I used to get paid to pee. I also got paid to walk around my office, talk on the phone, surf the Web, do my expenses, stroll around the block, eat lunch and visit with my co-workers.

Now I don’t.

That has been one of the hardest things to which I have had to adjust now that I work for myself. No one pays me to go to the bathroom or lunch or, well, anywhere. If I am not producing actual, tangible stuff, I am not getting paid. Ick.

While charging by the hour does allow me to happily make round 83 of changes and answer my client’s phone call on Saturday night with a smile, it also means I am never really “off,” and there is no such thing as “downtime.”

I always loved downtime.

And I often find myself reaching the end of what I thought was a busy day and looking back to find my billable hours were minimal. What the hell did I do all day? It’s 9 pm, and I felt busy until that moment. And I earned, like, $1.50 all day. Ick, again.

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal talked about how self-employed people can’t take vacation. Sing it, sister. My past couple of “vacations” were really just changes of venue: I worked in a hotel room instead of in my apartment. Granted, I was so very happy to enjoy real theater at night while working in New York, where they mercifully make you turn off your cell phone for at least two hours. Of course, the rub continued: No one was paying me to see Hair (which I didn’t love, by the way).

And no one is paying me to write this post, which I am doing while watching a baseball game and a football game, answering e-mail and responding to a phone survey about the “Times Square-ization” of San Francisco (they wish!). This is my new downtime. So now I’ll just cross my legs and try to think of a way to make peeing billable.

3 Responses to “I Pee for Free”

  • I feel bad enough that we saw Hair – don’t make it worse.At full price no less. Hey, they are replacing those awful chairs in Times Square – did you write a letter to Bloomberg?

  • I never blame you for bad theater! Bad Chinese food? Maybe.

  • Just to be contrary, when I did have a job that paid for vacations, I never had the time to take one! I left with weeks and weeks of lost vacation time and money. So, there is a cost to all of that paid walking-around time. I think this all falls into the “can’t win” category, so the answer is to do what makes you happy — and pray to god health-reform passes!

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