Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Cutting Back to Cultivate Abundance

Here at the nanofarm, we've been exploring different work/life options. I work at home and have for nearly a decade and a half. My being "at-home" was planned when we had children, because through personal experience and anecdotal evidence, we believed that our children would be better off with one full-time parent. We both have college degrees, but with his in electrical engineering and his starting salary about twice what I, as a teacher, would have made, we decided it would be best for Deus Ex Machina to enter the world of employment, and I would stay home.

But I decided I also wanted to have a bit of income, and so I started a home-based secretarial service, and over the years, while my business has not grown, in the economic sense of it being completely self-supporting and my having lots of employees and clients, it has stayed viable (i.e. the income has always been more than it cost me to operate the business), and I've earned a fairly steady income as a home-based entrepreneur.

To his credit, Deus Ex Machina has always worked very hard, and while some aspects of his job(s) over the years have been incredibly rewarding, sometimes there are conflicts with his work schedule and the things he really wants to be doing here, at home. Or the things that need to be done by him (like splitting wood) to support our chosen lifestyle.

We've talked a lot about choices. We've talked about a complete career change for him and starting our own business, but the unknowns are very hard to plan for, and Deus Ex Machina is wont to consider jumping into the water without testing the temperature and depth - except with his work schedule and the things that need to be done on our nanofarm, testing the waters in an entrepreneurial venture without actually getting wet can't really happen. With his responsibility to his employers (including the occasional spur-of-the-moment business trips), there is just very little extra time to embark on a new career.

The other option is to drop to a four-day workweek and take a pay cut, which is the option we are currently considering. As it turns out, studies and anecdotal evidence show that a four-day workweek, when implemented company-wide, increases work productivity, increases employee work-life satisfaction and reduces sick days and personal days taken by employees.

The challenge, now, is to convince our employers that, in the case of employee productivity, less is actually more.

The reality is that the less is more philosophy applies in just about every aspect of our lives. As suburbanites and well-trained consumers, we're still trying to relearn that lesson.

This morning, I picked up a dozen more chicks. We got a good deal on some dual purpose breeds from a local friend.

We didn't plan to do a comparison between heritage breeds of meat birds and our hybrids (and favored) Cornish X, but it looks like fate has granted us a golden opportunity ... and we're not ones to pass those up.


  1. I left my full time job twice to be home full time, as day care for three pretty much killed my low level paycheck. We saved a lot of money. As the kids got older, I went back full time. Having summers off is great for me now, to do the garden, can, etc. With the kids gone it certainly frees up time, energy and $.

  2. Hi Wendy,

    New Society Publishers' staff almost all work 4 day work weeks. When I was hired, I called it the single mom work place - I stood out as being one of the few with a kid AND a partner. Although things have changed, (for others who found partners, not that I lost mine!) I heartily agree with the argument that people who work a four day work week are more productive. On my day "off" I schedule medical appointments, kid meetings, shopping, volunteer work, all the endless chores that would otherwise creep into work time. And, I am better organized at work because ... it still all has to get done, and it does!

  3. Mike - it's wonderful to learn that New Society is as much a pleasure to work for, as they have been to work "with" :).

    Of course, as a company, New Society is definitely cutting edge. When the rest of the world catches on to what NSP knows/does, it will be a much nicer world ;).