Livin’ the Life of the New Economy Dad

Livin’ the Life of the New Economy Dad

That’s me, idling in the Stop & Shop parking lot about to grab a cart, in Metrowest Massachusetts, ear buds in, iPhone mounted on my dashboard, eating half a sandwich and talking with a client about expanding our work for them in New England.

Is this the new economy?

Maybe, or perhaps just a guy who is still trying to figure out how to manage a public affairs firm and work out of his house (or car) while staying involved with a young and busy family.

I started my firm, ellis mills public affairs, in January 2014 with one partner, a laptop and a corner of the upstairs playroom of my house as the corporate headquarters. It was difficult to leave the consulting position I had been in for almost 13 years, but I was ready for a change and looking to take advantage of running my own shop and the flexibility it could offer.

“Flexibility” takes many forms. Is it nice that I can pick up my kids at 3:30 in the afternoon from school and hear about their day, start homework and get ready for any evening activities? Sure. But add in the client conference call scheduled for 3 pm that bleeds in to pick-up time and you have some glum little faces…and a different kind of stress. I have gotten very adept at using the mute button.

The more I talk to folks in public affairs and other businesses, however, I find that there are tons of people doing similar things. Some have much better infrastructure – is there such a thing as home phone system envy? – but all battle each day with the “flexibility” of “working from home” and being productive. According to studies, one in five Americans work from home at least one day a week. That means about 30 million people are dealing with various forms of what I deal with each day.

That explains all the people at the gym at 11 a.m. on a weekday.

The added pressure of the work-from-home gig being your own business adds another layer of challenge. I have voraciously read about how people manage their time. The stream of information and interaction we all must endure can be overwhelming…and I have to admit I haven’t figured it out yet.

More reading and experience is needed. In the meantime, feel free to give me a call. I am available most of the time…that’s me in the produce aisle right now, picking up baby carrots and checking in with my accountant.

Bryan Mills

<p>Bryan Mills is an attorney and nationally recognized expert in grassroots public affairs. In his nearly 20-year career, Bryan has designed and executed dozens of land-use permitting, zoning, and community engagement campaigns around the country.</p>