So in a span of about four hours, he set up an environmental consulting company.
At first, I was very skeptical. But over the past few years, he has developed an excellent rapport with his client. These days, he's involved on so many different projects ... I've lost count. Once every few months, he needs to travel on a business trip, but other than those times when he's out of town for three or four days at a time ... during an average week, he'll only put in 15 hours of work effort, usually between the hours of 8 and 11 PM.
The only thing that makes Charlie happier than the fascinating projects he's involved on, and his incredibly flexible work schedule, is the fact that next year, he's on track to make almost as much as me, the "primary breadwinner." Granted, he doesn't have to pay for medical benefits for our entire family, nor does he have a 401K ... but ...
He works 15 hours a week.
For the past few months and especially since my hospital visit, Charlie's been brainstorming different scenarios for our family. Because what if I can't go back to work? What if the long-term work that is available for me, is not conducive with say ... our family life and my mental or physical health?
So while I've wildly vacillated between keeping things status quo ~ or ~ moving to a farm in Montana ... Charlie's been trying to convince me that I need to throw in the towel on the big corporate world, and take the plunge to join his fledgling consulting company.
I've always been resistant to this idea. Because despite the pressures that I've faced with my current job, I truly enjoy the work that I do and I'm good at it. It's fun and exciting. The people are great, the company is great, the stability is great. And long-term, the benefits for our family can not be easily matched. The only thing that would make my job better is if I worked out of the house no more than twenty-four hours a week.
(That's very unlikely to happen.)
So perhaps in a few years, I'll give Charlie's proposal more thought.
In the meantime, when we recently met up with my sister, Eileen, Charlie floated the idea of her joining forces with him as well. You might recall, my sister Eileen is an environmental chemist and was the impetus for my pursuing a career in the environmental industry way back in 1986. With 10 years of consulting experience under my belt, plus an additional 10 years working on the "inside" ... coupled with Eileen's 20+ years of environmental chemistry experience, Charlie's convinced the three of us would dominate the environmental consulting world.
Moreover, my husband has done his homework and he knows that a lot of companies earmark a certain percentage of their work for "MWBE" or "Minority and Woman Business Enterprises" so if he put Eileen and I in the role of President and CEO, we could register as a "diversified supplier" and would undoubtedly (in his words) have a difficult time keeping up with all of the projects that would come flooding our way.
Several years ago, Eileen set up a very small private practice that she dubbed "Pillar Services." Charlie thinks that we should just rename her company to "Pillar Management Services." More aptly: PMS: A Woman-Owned Business. He said our tag line will be, "HIRE US, OR WE'LL BITE YOUR $%*# HEAD OFF!!"
It certainly has appeal. But assuming we do eventually pursue this path, that tag line might need to be softened up a little bit.
I'm thinking, "Please don't make me cry."
Here, have some chocolate!