There's Always Something

November 08, 2023

As I’ve started a family, a strange hobby has developed — budgeting. It’s funny how life changes your perspective, 10 years ago I would have cringed thinking about my bank account. Maybe it’s the sense of control it provides in a world that often feels out of control. Or perhaps it’s the anxiety that comes with the ever-increasing costs of daycare. Regardless, what I’ve come to realize is that budgeting is more than just managing expenses; it’s about preparing for the unexpected.

At first, budgeting was all about knowing the fixed costs: mortgage, daycare, car payments, and the like. But as I delved deeper into budgeting, I began to project future expenses a month ahead. What became clear is that there are always unexpected expenses. It could be a broken dishwasher or the annual car insurance renewal. Recognizing that unexpected expenses will arise and accepting this fact eases my mind. This awareness even helps in planning; I can delay a buying something, confident that it will fit into the budget later.

What stands out to me is how much this applies to working in customer support, especially at a statrtup. No matter how much we can have the perfect plan for a week, something will throw it for a loop. Think staffing is good? Opps someone is out sick. Queue is “slower” than normal? That incident engineering thought they fixed last week is happening again. Haven’t pulled stats in a while? Leadership is asking what recent support volume looks like.

Somehow that puts my mind at ease when thinking about things. Sure we’re going to have 5% of our support from some unexpected source at the start of the month, but at least we know the unexpected is going to happen.

The next time you find yourself in the midst of a chaotic workweek or support queue, take a deep breath. Consider how you can plan your time and mental capacity in the future. Is there a way to accommodate the unexpected next week? Embracing the uncertainty and preparing for it can make the unpredictable feel a little less daunting.

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