Thursday, April 22, 2010

Without a Struggle

Yesterday we passed a big milestone, the opening teleconference of our second stage (two year) contract. Yes, the contract officially began more than a month ago, but the conference was a big step, and a long time in coming. It's actually been more than a year since I had occasion to report on and present aspects of the technical progress of the project. So, like all things delayed, it loomed above me as a major step, growing with each passing day.

And.. best I can tell, they were wowed! It was also my first project conference with a full staff. I was on display not only for the project leads, but also for my employees. And it was a full house: 8 of us (me, 2 board members, 2 full-time researchers, 2 part-time staff, and one intern). I took everyone to lunch. A big sigh. I was relieved. And then... what now?

A few reports to file, a second month report for the other first stage project (due next week). But in truth, I feel rather freed, rather unfettered, yet flush with work for a couple years. It's an odd freedom. I'm so accustomed to struggling, that I'm a bit adrift. Silly, I know. But then experience is all we really have to inform our behavior. It just takes a little getting used to.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Some Days

... and today is one of them.

Nothing in particular... well, the computer acting up is one of them. I think I really need to "rebuild" my computer, but it's so much work to backup and migrate everything, and reinstall all the software. Yeah, I've got an IT assistant whom I pay to do that sort of thing. But my life is on that computer, at least big parts of it. I've got to be sure I have access to everything while the rebuild takes place.

Lots of little things accumulating and conspiring against my contentedness: One employee on medical leave; a second still learning; a contract lead who's less than clear on what he wants, and seems intent on asking us to work on areas of research far from our expertise and distant from what he originally asked for and what we proposed to accomplish; hardware that won't quite do what we expect it to; children who are a bit too hard to deal with at the moment.

Funny thing, all I really want is the freedom to pursue my research, to put my mind and talents to their best use. Damn the Academy for denying me those opportunities where I thought I should expect them; damn myself for the stubbornness to pursue them against the tide of circumstance.

Ha! I guess I make myself laugh too. My three boys at the moment and chasing each other in circles. Pitter patter pitter patter pitter patter. It's been rainy. They're happy at least, not fighting. Far worse things than that.

As life is. At the end of the week or early next week, I'll have in place a line of credit from my business bank. Good thing too. I haven't been able to pay myself since December. I've got about 7 or 8 checks piled up in a drawer awaiting my ability to cash them. The first two invoices (one on each contract) are awaiting payment, and a third should be submitted this week. It'll be a couple months until I catch up. But I will.

The tax accountant has been slow in finalizing our filings. I've had to draw from savings to cover the expected payments. Yes, far worse things than having to pay taxes, and having the savings to draw from.

Life's pretty good I know it. It's just been one of those days.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The joys...

I sit today in a quiet office. One of my new employees is presently on indefinite medical leave, which started less than a month after her hire date. We hope she'll be able to return to work in a couple weeks, but it's not certain that she will be able to return full-time, whether she'll be able to fulfill all the requirements of the job, or whether she'll be returning at all. Bummer. My second full-time new hire is apparently "not feeling well" this morning, though he hasn't accumulated any PTO yet (no PTO for the first month, and April's allotment is vested to him on the first of May). Perhaps he'll be in after lunch. I trust that he'll make up the lost hours over the next week or two. [SIGH!]

But I'm here, where I've been the past few years, plugging away. They call this stage of entrepreneurship the firefighter stage. Lots of fires keep flaring up. Let's hope I can keep putting them out, without losing sight of the forest I'm protecting.