There were several reasons I decided to take this little carny show on the road. The first was that I was working way too many hours and was on call all the time and I thought if I was going to do that I should probably get paid enough to put aside some money for my daughter’s eventual therapy (since I am a bad mommy and work for a living). The second was that I was tired of having to be invested long term in the myriad little day to day problems of EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. IN MY DEPARTMENT. So I should mention here that I am a “good listener” <freaking sponge for people’s problems> and probably too sympathetic <human doormat>. So taking a promotion that put me in charge of a department of IT people may not have been the smartest move I ever made. And finally, I reached the moment when I COULD travel. That moment came when I had two kids at home but one was almost 16 and the other was almost 19 and driving. Before that, I could not have left them at home for any amount of time without a paid chauffeur and chaperone.
So let’s say you have this crucial crossroad, for whatever reason, and are now considering taking a consultant position. (And by “consultant position” I do not mean “bent over so as to make it easier for your employer to metaphorically give it to you without asking.” That would apply to most any employment “opportunity”.)
Here are some things to consider:
1.) What is your support system and is it good enough?
2.) How old are your kids? Do you have a significant other that can take up the slack at home?
3.) How long can you go without a paycheck?
4.) Do you have a backup plan?
Personally, I struggled through all of these questions and am still in a panic over numbers 3 and 4, because I suck at saving. My backup plan at the moment revolves around committing a felony that would land me in a lovely semi-private room with a new “wife” but free healthcare.
I travel for work…like four days a week away from home. So that is a whole lot of my life. And yeah, it’s kind of exhausting, and I have to be all professional and shit. Which is also exhausting. And I have friends who do what I do for a living who fall into the “I can eat up to $65-70-75-whatever worth of food a day and it’s paid for so let’s do that” category. Mostly those are guys and they mostly can get away with it. Those fuckers. A few are women who worry me and who are developing their own gravitational fields on account of their sheer mass. (It’s physics, ya’ll.) But mostly we girls are on a never-ending quest to eat healthy on the road and yet not face a side salad with lemon wedges and dressing on the side every night. And a lot of us only have access to a mini fridge and maybe a microwave at night. And some of us maaaay prefer that two full glasses of wine worth of calories be saved each day for dinner.
So here is the deal. I use sites like Urban Spoon and Yelp and I try a new place for dinner every week that I travel. I don’t order fried cheese and beef (I want to but I don’t). And I don’t eat dessert. But I do drink a glass or two of wine with dinner cuz it makes me happy.
And mostly I just stop at a grocery store on the way in from the airport and I stock up on things that are chosen for their ability to fill me up without a bunch of fat and calories and I eat those for breakfast and lunch. And snacks. And guess what? It kinda works. It is a plan in progress. This week I bought fresh cherries and blueberries and raspberries and some plain Greek yogurt. Also some little carrots (which I consider more of a building product than actual food but it keeps well in the fridge) and a pre-packaged salad with a calorie content of 210 and some sliced turkey with Wasa wafers (the cardboard kind that taste absolutely craptastic but you can eat three of them for only 70 calories). And mustard for the turkey.
And when I get home I will cook healthy stuff. And I work out at least 3 and usually 4 times a week. This seems to be preventing me (barely) from bulging into the next pants size up. If I want to actually LOSE weight I have to give up the wine. This is why dieting makes me cranky.
And I still get to try out great new restaurants and live a happy life. So wish me luck. I am hanging on to these size “?” pants for all I’m worth.
Bon appetite Bottoms up!