UN-Paid Vacation / Holiday Time

Oh the JOY of the Holiday Season!  Maybe.

We are just winding down the big holiday season in the U.S. which seems to start about noon on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday of November), and wraps up the Monday after New Year's Day.  This is often a time of celebration and relaxation, when productivity seems to take a back seat to enjoying life.  On the other hand, for some people, it becomes the time of high-stress assignments pushing to complete something before year-end.  The latter was my experience this year, and it really messed up my Christmas spirit.  Next year I think I'll aim for the other.

But either way, this time period can be treacherous for the self-employed.  "Why?", you ask.  Because if you make your living as I do, you do work on a "time and materials" basis, or in other words, get paid by the hour.  In short, what that means is if you don't work, you don't make money.  Forget all about that benefits package you used to have when you worked on salary for someone else and they included paid vacations and holidays.  You're on your own now.  Yes, that means that if you can afford it, (and your clients agree) you can take plenty of time off of work during the holiday season.  BUT, it also means that if you take time off, you are forfeiting income, and sometimes that's a really hard pill to swallow, especially when you look into January and see the credit card bills coming in for all the fun you had.

My general philosophy is to make as much money as you can while you're working so that you can afford to live when you have time off (either planned, like vacation, or unplanned like a gap in contracts).  If you've never worked for yourself and are thinking about doing it, this is something important to consider.

posted @ Saturday, January 03, 2004 4:59 PM

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Comments on this entry:

# Contracting Tips: Fixed Bid vs. T

Left by Ajarn's SQL Corner at 1/3/2004 5:44 PM
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There are essentially two types of billing for contract work: Fixed Bid or Time

# No Sick Leave, Either

Left by Ajarn's SQL Corner at 2/19/2004 2:37 AM
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Closely related to my Unpaid Vacation / Holiday Time post is the fact that when you're self employed, you don't get paid sick leave either.
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