I’m not a fan of April Fool’s Day. I like to think I have a decent sense of humor, but I don’t like practical jokes in general. Maybe it’s fallout from being teased as a kid, maybe it goes hand-in-hand with my dislike of pushing people’s buttons to get a rise. Maybe I just hate the embarrassment that comes from being taken-in. At any rate, not a fan of the day or the shenanigans (though, okay, I did participate in one small bit of subterfuge today on the Helmar blog, but that was by request and, hopefully, not harmful to anyone).
The last two weeks, though, have been like one long, surreal, joke. One of truly questionable humor.
Most things have been small annoyances. My phone is glitchier than normal (I never named it, but it’s begging to be called Vanellope from here on out) but it’ll have to hang in there for a while longer. The freezer has started this *really neat trick* of popping open just a smidgen when you close the refrigerator door. Not every time, that would be too predictable, but it’s resulted in a couple of mornings coming downstairs to melting this or that. This very site has gone down twice in the last week due to issues with the cache something or other and attempts to get an answer as to why keep leading me in a Sisyphean loop (though I think I might finally be getting somewhere, maybe, I hope).
But no, the real fun began on the 22nd, when the boss announced that we were closing in a little over a month (that would be the news I mentioned a few times in the last post).
Now, on it’s own, that’s not a joke, it’s just bad. And as the bookkeeper I was all too aware that it was a possibilityÂ if things didn’t change. Change was being sought, we’d pulled out of slumps before and survived the economic downturn/great recession where other shops did not. To go from high possibility to startling reality, well, that took a little getting used to.
The joke comes with a bit of a history lesson.
4 years ago… things happened. What and why and by who aren’t really important, water under the bridge for the most part and all, but I almost gave my notice. I didn’t (obviously), but I realized that I didn’t want to be here forever. I was, at the time, 36 and had been with the same employer for all of my adult life.* I had never set out to become a bookkeeper, it just turned out to be something I was good at. But I’m good at other things, too, and so I set a goal for myself that I’d be at least 50% self-employed by the time I turned 40.
Our last official day open is 4/29. My 40th birthday is 4/30.
Of course it’s not quite so cut and dried. While the company will be closed for business there are still a lot of loose ends to tie up and, since I’m the one that handles the paperwork, I’ll be around for a few months after that. The boss and I’ll be roaming the ghostly halls as we basically dismantle the company piece by piece. While I’m grateful for the slightly extended stay of unemployment, it’s a weird sort of limbo to be in, too. And if I find a new position before it’s all done I’ll be doing both for a while.
Everyone’s taking it as well as can be expected (well, almost everyone, but that’s not a story for today). It’s weird to know that certain tasks or projects you’re working on for the last time. The end may be nigh, but we’ve still got jobs to do, and most of us are getting on with getting on.
What will I do come August? Still very much up in the air.
Part of me says take this time to cultivate more freelance clients, really invest in the blog and products that I already have, and embrace self-employment. That part of me conveniently ignores the bills that I pay every month, says the other part of me, and urges toÂ get a job, any job, maybe two jobs if necessary.
It’s very house-divided in my head these days.
Chances are it’ll be some combination of the two. I’m looking for another full-time position while also creating contingency plans if nothing pans out or it takes longer than expected to find the right fit. Todd and I have talked about how we’ll handle the finances should I end up on unemployment (which would only be about half my take-home pay, max) or worse. It’ll work out how it needs to, things just might be tight for a while. But we’ll get through it.
The moral of the story is: be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.
*I’ve worked here since the week after high school graduation, minus a 5 month leave of absence to finish my Culinary degree in 2000, coming back because my replacement didn’t work out and I have this pesky need to be able to pay my bills. All of them. In the same month, even. I know, quirky, right?