Musings of an Outsourcer

As I am sitting in the living room writing this post, my new lawn service is outside diligently edging, weeding, and mowing. And it is glorious.

Ever since I moved to Florida, I've been mowing the lawn myself. As a financial analyst, I usually arrived at 9am and left at 4:30pm every single day, and the latest I could expect to leave was around five. I never had to stress about whether or not I'd be home in time for enough sunlight to see the yard I was mowing and could always mow a day later if it was raining.  As I transitioned to a new department as a project consultant, my hours were really still a core 9am to 4:30pm. I enjoyed moving the lawn and jumping in the pool after.

In my new position as a business manager, I'm still trying to fake it until I make it. My qualifications include blogging about money sometimes, running a small Airbnb business from my home, three years of basic analysis and customer service experience from my first role, one year of analysis and basic automation in excel and access from my fourth year, and ... well, that's it. There was a huge risk I wouldn't work out, but here I am, managing financials for 40% of our IT organization's financials, while 15% is essentially unmanaged depreciation of assets and projects, and three people are managing the other 45%. 

How did I even end up here? How did my colleagues with 20 to 30 years of experience not land this role before I did? Part of it was being in the right place at the right time, and the other part is volunteering when no one else well. My manager used to manage the 40% before he was promoted, and he needed me to step in and assist where I could. I stepped up and did the job for four months, formally landing the promotion. During that time, I would work late most nights of the week between learning about the organization, trying to bandage the lack of tools and add transparency to make sure we had what we needed to run the organization. Meanwhile, my grass was still growing.

When I was just starting in the new role, I would make sure to hustle home at least one night to mow the lawn. It wasn't as bad because the grass doesn't grow as fast in the winter.  Now we're into summer months, when grass grows twice as fast thanks to the rain and has to be cut weekly.  Half the week has been spent stressing about leaving at 4:30pm so I can mow the yard, ultimately feeling frustrated because I just don't get home with enough time to mow before the sun goes down. Then the one day I do manage to leave earlier, I'm stuck mowing the yard. If I can't make that one day during the week, or if it’s been raining when I get home, I have to give up part of the weekend to mow the lawn. My lack of attention to the yard has been obvious.

Meanwhile, I'm still in a spot where we don't have the tools we need to do our job. I don't have reports, I haven't been able to reconcile, I have very little in the way of financial management history to fall back on, but all the while, I've been learning and volunteering and putting in the time to make sure that we have the information that we need for my part of the organization. I've been mulling ways to streamline, mulling ways to teach, mulling ways to increase accuracy, and just letting it all simmer as I've been learning all about my organization from the ground up. This is where I want to be focusing and putting my attention and focus on these things will far outweigh the cost of the Lawn Service come bonus time and raise time.​

My quality of life had needlessly gone down from unnecessary stress about the lawn.  Now here I sit, comfortably in my living room, watching the new Lawn Service hard at work to do a far better job than I have ever done for $115 a month.  It’s more financially frugal to mow it myself, but it’s important to be frugal with time as well. I enjoy yardwork, and now I will be able to focus on pretending to grow vegetables, maintaining the flower beds, trimming the trees, and furnishing the back porch.  I haven't been able to do any of these things lately because I've been so busy just trying to maintain the lawn.  Outsourcing for the win!