Happy Labor Day! I hope you have the day off. I don’t—but that’s a choice I’m making as a solopreneur. I could take the day off, but it would put me even further behind. You see, I had two wonderful weeks of vacation, which I very sorely needed, but there were no other laborers in the vineyard, so I have some catching up to do.
Vacation is critically important for the human soul—but when you’re a solopreneur, things get backed up because you’re the only one to do the work. I’m drafting this post on Saturday because, unless I want to work on Sunday (which I don’t), you won’t have anything to read on Monday, when I usually post. And yes, I do want to keep to that rhythm whenever possible. I want to be reliable—another key element for success as a solopreneur!
Welcome to my inner world. As I pondered what to write about today, the topic on my blog schedule no longer seemed to fit. I woke up Saturday morning with the idea that perhaps what made the most sense was a bit of a brain dump on the topics of labor, vacation, and gratitude.
First, in honor of Labor Day, I’ll share some thoughts on the labor trends I’m noticing in America. Many business sectors are having a hard time finding blue-collar workers. Some would blame that on the extra unemployment benefits, but those are fast disappearing. In fact, half the states are choosing to end those benefits early. Perhaps it has more to do with low wages and miserable working conditions. Perhaps it’s time for more business owners to remember the importance of a truly livable wage and the need to treat employees like people, not machines.
On the other hand, the number of people starting new businesses (mostly solopreneurs!) has been steadily rising at the same time. Perhaps, in the wake of the pandemic, more people are realizing they want to take that leap of faith they’d been putting off for years. Perhaps the idea of still being able to work from home has great appeal (I honestly can’t see myself commuting to an office building every day).
Of course, starting your own business is not conducive to a lot of vacation time either. Solopreneurs don’t get paid when they’re not working. Fortunately, nine years into this arrangement, I’m able to carve out time and not have it badly impact the bottom line. I’m grateful for that, and for having family and friends in interesting places so that I can visit them for my vacations!
Ultimately, gratitude is where I find myself most firmly today. I’m grateful that being my own boss means I can choose to work when I want and vacation when I want. (In fact, I now tend to avoid vacationing when everyone else does, because I would rather avoid the crowds and work when others take the day off—as I am this Labor Day!)
I’m also grateful that the weather was generally very conducive to time out in nature while I was on vacation. I got lots of Rocky Mountain time without the thick smoke I had feared. I took a lot of photos, some of which will show up both here and on Instagram in the weeks ahead. I continue to pray for all who are affected by the wildfires, even as I celebrated the myriad mushrooms I encountered in the wet Colorado mountains.
What comes to your heart and mind about human labor and vacation time? What are you grateful for on this Labor Day?
Several friends have been sharing about being over busy as Solopreneurs in their own way. I have been finding that silence is the best vacation for me, even if I can’t get away to find it. This poem was the result of that thinking out loud…
Some days silence comes,
giving me no choice.
No music, please, or conversation.
Don’t break the spell.
life fills in the blanks.
The hum of the heater,
or the ice-maker,
working on my behalf.
that we must show up for silence
to receive its gifts.
Recognizing how easy it is
to spend a lifetime
looking for grace in the noise
of a busy world.
I can be a child again
lying on the lawn
watching the clouds
form pictures just for me.
there comes the privilege
of knowing silence
and its partner, gratitude.
Some days, that is all I need.
(c) Barbara Wood Gray
Wakening to wonder
Oh, Barbara, thank you for sharing this beautiful fruit of your prayer. Thank you for reminding me that vacation is as much a state of mind as a state of place or movement. Thank you for being silent on my behalf as I work today. I’m blessed in my friends and companions on this journey!