Day Seventy Two: March 12
When you’re a single-income breadwinner for a family of four, you have to bring your A-game every day. When you’re a single-income defense consultant breadwinner in an era of budget cuts, program cancellations, and looming unemployment, you have to bring your A+ game every day. In Northern Virginia, you eat what you kill. We’re a “go hard or go home” kind of town, and most of the time I enjoy that, enjoy being with people who are all-in for their chosen profession, whatever that may be. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to keep up.
When you’re bringing home the salary, you always have to keep an eye out for the next promotion. Career growth is not a nice to have, it’s a must-have, because the options are up or out. So whenever I can get the opportunity to grow a little, stretch a little, learn a little, and demonstrate just a little more value to my team, I take it. Around New Year’s I was presented with an opportunity to take on a new role in my team, the kind of thing that’s given to one person every two years. And they picked me for it. It’s exciting, even while it’s hard work.
Saturday night I put the kids to bed and then worked. Sunday night I put the kids to bed and then worked till 11, slept till 4:45, went to my regular job, worked on my project, came home late for dinner, played with the kids, gave baths and put them to bed, and then went back to my project. Fortunately I’m finished with it, for this month, numerous billable hours later.
But lest you think we lead some kind of perfect or idyllic life, here is my reality…in an undershirt because the shirt I was wearing got spit up on by one kid and soaked from the other splashing in the tub. I have my bare feet propped up on the coffee table we bought at the discount furniture store. That’s J’s pacifier on the arm of the sofa to my right. Beneath the table are M’s pool shoes that she insisted on wearing today because the weather was warm, along with J’s rattle. The white thing under the sofa is the door hangar that last held the Christmas wreath in December. And on the coffee table by my feet is my Bible. On the lamp table to my right, the tissue box, emptied in Day Sixty Five, has been replaced with a new box.
I earn a little bit, give a little bit to the church, pay too much in taxes, save a little bit, buy a little bit of groceries and a little bit of gas in the car, and maybe on a Friday night have a little bit left over for Indian takeout, Mommy’s new favorite craze after I introduced her for the first time last Friday. The reality is, I do my work little bit by little bit, surrounded by pacifiers, rattles, pool shoes, bills to be paid, and Kleenex boxes to be replaced.
It is easy to think this post is a lot about me, me, me. In reality, it’s really a little bit about the unending struggle in this “go go go” town to keep my head a little bit above the water, to stay just a little bit ahead of the competition, and maybe at the end of the year when they have a little bit of raise money to give out, they’ll think of me just a little bit.
The day has been a little bit long and I’m a little bit tired. I got a lot done, billed 10.25 hours today and put in some great work for my team. So I’m going to close this for now and go spend a little bit of time with Love. Some days are grand. Some days, like this life in a day, are little.