Welcome to LCS! Having a network of fellow coaches is an important part
of the independent consultant business.
For now, I'll leave aside the marketing, contract negotiation, and such
technicalities that I don't always do well. The important thing I hear
in your message is not how to stay home, but how to maintain the
It can be very hard on the non-traveling spouse. (The fact that you're
not married makes no difference.) The issues are often expressed as
about the situation (e.g. "prefer if you got a job locally," "didn't
agree to a long-distance relationship") but are essentially emotional.
It's often hard for us techies to understand these emotional issues when
we're immersed in what we're doing. It's even harder to understand
what's happening inside others and foresee the consequences of our actions.
One tool that helps me a lot is the Satir Congruence Model. While I
encountered this years ago, it was at the AYE Conference and subsequent
interactions with Jerry Weinberg and others who have known him that I
learned to incorporate it into my life. At it's core, it's a balance of
self, other, and context. When these get out of balance, the situation
deteriorates. Two of the most common stances are blaming (where the
significance of the other person is ignored) and placating (where the
significance of yourself is ignored). Keeping a balance is a dynamic
process. It takes constant attention.
Another thing that helped us was John Gottman's book, The Seven
Principles for Making Marriage Work (http://amzn.to/w9uydv). This book
was recommended by a counselor we saw when we were going through a rough
Another little tip: when you come home from a conference or engagement,
you're still caught up in things you've done while you've been apart.
That can be extremely disconcerting for the person you've left behind
who didn't experience those things. Put these things aside and
concentrate on being in the present with your spouse when you first
return. I first learned this from Jerry, but also from John Gottman's book.
I'd be happy to go into more detail on any of this. I wish you happiness
and fulfillment in both your professional and personal lives.
On 2/25/12 10:06 PM, Lanette Creamer wrote:
> Hi Lonely Coaches,
> I'm approaching my first anniversary as an independent consultant. I
> became and Indy coach because I had an amazing opportunity, not because
> I really wanted to be my own business, handle all of the accounting,
> taxes, contracts, and potential future work at the same time as working
> a current job. So far, I love the freedom to work for people who I
> respect. I dislike learning that I'm bad at accounting, contract
> negotiation, and saying no to clients, friends, and others who want my time.
> My first assignment, I stayed for 3 months, which is when the contract
> ended. I told him that I needed to find out if coaching or teaching was
> the right career for me, and that I'd come home at the end of the
> contract if he wanted me to. I believe I disappointed the client, as
> they wanted to renew the contract, which I hadn't considered. I set them
> up with a great replacement, who is still working with them now. With
> the travel, it was difficult for my boyfriend who I own a home with.
> We've owned a home together since 2007, and he would prefer it if I just
> got a job locally and did not travel for my job anymore. When I got home
> he seemed to understand that I'd still go to conferences, meet with
> clients, present, and teach classes as part of my job. He asked that I
> try to set up my schedule so that I'm not gone for more than 3 weeks at
> a time.
> I set up my conferences and made preparations to offer courses hoping
> that some clients would want me to come teach a class for a few days,
> work with the team, perhaps speak locally, and then head home. It seems
> likely that he just doesn't enjoy me being away from home. He points out
> that I could get a local job, or even try harder to find clients in the
> Seattle area, and he reminds me that we didn't agree to have a
> long-distance relationship. I do care about how he feels, I'm just not
> sure what, if anything, I can do at this point. I've tried to
> compromise, listen, and limit my travel. I've tried staying home and
> even went down to one client where I can work from home most often. I'm
> taking classes on how to give better workshops and even working hard to
> get the Seattle Selenium meetup going again so that the community here
> keeps growing/learning.
> I miss being part of a team that I see in person. I miss having a mentor
> like I used to. I miss seeing other people beyond just the phone. There
> is something about working with other people that makes me happy, and
> being 100% remote just doesn't do it for me. I mean, I can do a good job
> of working remote, but I start to feel limited and frustrated. I have no
> ideas when I consider what I can possibly do to keep my relationship
> going well, be fair, and still have a fulfilling career. Any experiences
> to share that might help? Any advice for me?
> p.s. For those who don't know me, I'm a practicing agile tester. I test
> every day, and love doing testing. I also help testers collaborate with
> developers and business people. I'm a fan of automated acceptance tests
> with CI, and having enough automation in place that testers can actually
> DO end to end workflow testing, and ET rather than just manually run
> functional tests on stories and cover regression.
* George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org