All Nighters

The past weeks have been hectic for me workwise, no cross that out, everything wise. Last Sunday we had Evan’s birthday party, a couple of weeks before the out-of-town marathon on top of the very demanding freelancing gig I’ve been doing since the second week of April.

Evan playing with his legos while letting mommy work on the 150 page catalog.

While working on an almost 150 page catalog at 3 o’clock in the morning it brought to mind the graduation painting exhibit I did in college together with 2 friends Leslie and Ivy. We named it Pinuwawan. It means a product that was borne out of a night or several night of staying up late. Because that was our life in college. We spent countless nights in our college building basement, where the Fine Arts department was, painting away. It was fun, it had many good memories, laughter, midnight snacks (of puso – rice hearts, sardines, barbecued chicken, coke litros)  and forged deep friendships.

But it was a precursor to an visual/graphic arts related career. As a designer in Cebu and Manila, there were times that we had to go on night duties to prepare for big store events and openings. I didn’t mind that much, I was young, had lots of energy and it meant overtime pay, paid dinner (Kenny Rogers) and sometimes breakfasts (Tapa King) and a ride home. In fact, I kind of missed it when I was working here in the U.S. Five years working for a company and I can’t remember ever doing an overtime.

In some ways I was glad, because I was also a mother to young child then. I was always in a hurry to go home and spend my time with him, even if I was just working 3 times a week. Motherhood does that to you – you fall in love all over again. And when the company froze hiring freelancers and I was out of work, I thought after 3 months I would be climbing up the wall. I have always thought I was the working mom type. But the opposite happened, I loved spending extended period of time with my son. I didn’t realize how much until he went to Kindergarten. Sure, in pre-school, I thought 3 times a week, 3 hours a day were too short sessions to have anything productive done for myself.  But 5 days a week, 6 hours a day seemed too much for a Kindergartener either. And to leave him with a before/after schoolcare for additional couple of hours, was worse I though.

But I did prepare myself for that possibility, since I have always known I would go back to work. However I did pray a different prayer this time, that not only do I get a job but if it wasn’t too much to ask, not only is it a job that will allow me to use my skills, earn what I earned before but also allows me to spend time with my son. You know, I have wished that at the back of my mind for a couple of years and even took a photo of myself working on a laptop in a cafe to put on a vision board (which I have yet to come around doing) BUT it wasn’t only I prayed for it ALOUD when I started praying every night with Evan, did I get my wishes.

I didn’t get it right away since Evan and I only started to pray together around 6 months ago, but it came at the right time…a week after I got my laptop. And the most amazing part is, after 3 weeks of this project I earned enough to pay off my laptop AND all the software program. Talk about investment!

And yes, I get to work offsite. That means no babysitters to share my paycheck with and no worries who will drop off and pick up my son from school. I still get to join field trips, still bring him to his swim lessons, give him piano lessons, still have time to let him play around the park after school on nice days. And Evan is just amazing too. He is so good at letting me do my work, he even went with me to 3 meetings with my boss/client and hardly were we interrupted. My boss/client (who is just great) is so impressed with Evan.

Another awesome thing about working offsite, I hardly drive anywhere at all! Talk about good timing with the high gas prices we have been having lately. I do walk or take a train to a nearby cafe or library for change of scene or to meet my boss/client.

Another great thing about this freelancing gig is that I can really get to use my designing chops most of the time, not just reusing another artists artwork like in my previous jobs. The fun part is getting positive feedback.

After a grueling three weeks of working a the catalog, day and night, I bought myself a this mug to celebrate my inner Wonder Woman =)

But mind you, it is hard work. It isn’t the, oh I have 6 hours to work while Evan is in school, not at all. During rush jobs it sometimes meant making a choice of working until early in the morning or waking up very early in the morning, working on weekends to meet deadlines. This on top of taking care of Evan, keeping the house clean (this part needs improvement) etc.

I haven’t had many all nighters lately, which is good. I don’t always have to have a big paycheck – I am fine with a small yet steady ones, after all there is still that personal project to take care of…

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4 Responses to All Nighters

  1. Ed says:

    A flexible job has always been a dream of mine but in my profession, it most likely will mean that I’m also self employed. Someday…

  2. MC says:

    every one dreams of that job, a job they trained to do. hope you’re having one heck of a spring.

  3. Vanessa says:

    Happy 6th birthday again Evan.

  4. geri says:

    Ed, I doing projects for a small business guy who happened to land a huge account (thus me pitching in), I am exhausted just by following his schedule. Work means past midnight, early mornings (I see it from the hours of his emails), all weekend. Being self-employed could really be rewarding but the schedule is also something else! I am looking forward to be full-blown self employed too.

    MC, as the saying goes, if you do something you love, you will never work again for the rest of your life. =)

    Thanks Van!

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