But for the past several years, I’ve been Schedule C-ing, primarily as a voice over. And since I’m thinking I either need to fire myself or get my butt in gear, I decided I was long overdue for an evaluation – to determine what I am doing right, what I am doing wrong and what I have to do differently in order to be kept around.
Here’s how it went:
Boss Me: Well, Melba, so glad you made it. 2016 was the best of times and the worst of times, as they say. Due to travel, you were “off work” a lot, so your revenue dipped precipitously. However, the “off” time was spent travelling with hubby…a wonderful series of adventures: Yellowstone in January and Death Valley in June. But even when you weren’t on the road and able to work, your productivity…(well…how shall I put this so as not to be reported to HR?) Erm…sucked. Too much non-work media time, perhaps?
Worker Me: Since my son graduated and I married, my available work time has shifted and I have not caught up. Getting up earlier is always a good start on establishing routine and sticking to a schedule. I also have to recognize that, although I can work around others’ work schedules, mine really shouldn’t be as fluid as I’ve let it become. Just because most of my work is from home doesn’t make it less important than others’ in the household.
Boss Me: Good, good. So, Melba, set a schedule and stick to it, giving your work from home the same priority as when you get in the car and go talk someplace else.
Okay, they say alternate criticisms with compliments so: I am really proud that this year you won an Audie Award!
Worker Me: Yep! That’s sort of like the Oscars of Audio Book Narration. I decided to use that as a stepping stone out of the royalty share trap I’d gotten into on ACX….
Boss Me: Oh yes! Amazon has overrun its banks and flooded Audible with murky sub-par literature you really shouldn’t drink. (snicker)
Worker Me: (stares blankly) Uh, yeah. So ANYWAY when I was queried by the author/publisher of a series for which I have produced 5 royalty share titles regarding my willingness for book #6, I informed her that I was willing and available, but only at my per-finished-hour rate.
Boss Me: So a series into which you had poured talent and way too much time, that had garnered very little money….went away?
Worker Me: Yes, because the self-published author finally did the math I should have done 3 years ago, and determined paying me to do the sixth book just wasn’t a good financial investment. Now I see that I must stop investing my time and talent into places and projects that don’t pay – just as if I was shelling out the dough myself.
Boss Me: Right! Because time is money and your talent is worth money, you literally are! So, Melba, let’s try this: no more royalty share, start weaning off pay to play casting sites, and no more beating yourself up for not shaving “just another $50” off that bid.
Okay, one last thing you’re about to get fired for, and then we’re done: your audio quality was not what it should have been this year…in fact it really never has been what it should be. Moving to a new home in the rurally suburbs has helped. Not quite as many sirens. Virtually no “thunk in the trunk” music. But lawn tractors…lots of them. So not being sound-proofed or as close as you can get to it has been a real time-killer this year.
Worker Me: Ack! I know! Not only has my recording opportunity been limited to when I think my neighbors will be resting with a cool beverage, but even far away whirs have required more time in post.
Boss Me: This must change if I’m to keep you on, working in my home studio. Much to my delight, hubby brought this up and has offered to help with room within room within room construction if YOU do the research!
Worker Me: So more learning curves. Hooray. But seriously, what a dream come true! But then I guess I better become more productive and more profitable….
Boss Me: Or I will have to fire you, er…me…maybe even sue us for breach of contract or something.
Worker Me: (carefree laughter) But what a great opportunity. What a blessing to own up to failures, to delight in successes, to reach for a higher level of professionalism. It’s time.
Boss Me: I’m glad to see we agree! Besides, I haven’t paid into the government unemployment insurance fund. So I can’t really afford to fire us.
So that’s how it went. I’ve still got a job! For now.