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

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.