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Ray Deck III

High-Octane Human

(2017) Day in the Life of a Nonprofit ED

January 19, 2017

4:15a
Up and in the shower an hour before my alarm. Lincoln (our 8 month-old biological son) is not sleeping well. He's been in our room since we brought him home because the other bedroom is occupied by our 11 year-old foster son.

Any little noise causes him to stir, and any stirring wakes my wife Keely. She's up 5-6 times each night with him. I, on the other hand, sleep through everything and am no help whatsoever. She's asked for help, and we've put sleep training on the calendar to begin next week.

He was up several times last night, the latest at 4ish. I took that last one, and managed to get him down. But I woke him up again as I was getting out of the shower. Keely had him, so I went into the office. She's frustrated. I'm frustrated. We need another bedroom.

4:40a
I arrive at the office, newly moved to Perch & Play.

We bought Perch & Play last week, and I moved there to start rehabilitating the business unit and begin integrating it into Skookum's mission and strategic plan. We have an idea of how it fits, but I am still coming to understand the full scope of work that will be required to bring this business back to health.

Perch & Play is a really cool concept, and fits well in Bellingham, but it has suffered as the owner's enthusiasm for it has waned over the last 20 months or so. There's a long list of deferred maintenance on the facility, a disorganized supply chain, and a demoralized staff. We're trying to simultaneously raise the quality, lower the price, and improve the quality of customer service.

Today I am making a video and other promotional materials about our new membership product which will debut tomorrow. The website is built, the pricing is set, and now we're just rolling it out.

7:00a
Conference call for the TBS marketing team.

I'm still working a second job, at Lineage Media & Solutions. My job is to provide marketing support to TheBestSchools.org/magazine, a blog for college-bound high school seniors. At least, that's what I think it should be. There's a difference of opinion about its exact purpose, and that's what most of my work is focused on—achieving consensus regarding blog's purpose and goals. Ya know, that and hacking out a few hundred lines of HTML, CSS & Javascript every week.

9:00a
Second conference call of the day. This one is about general TBS editorial. I probably didn't say 4 consecutive words during the whole thing, which lasted for 2 hours. Colossal waste of my time. And yet, the pay check is good and it comes with health insurance. So I'll burn 4 hours in conference calls for this again next week.

11:00a
Perch & Play has gotten busy, so I provide backup in the kitchen during the lunchtime rush. I'm running the register, making espresso drinks, salads, and pizzas.

1:00p
Lunch for me. I manage to read a little while enjoying my leftovers from Sunday's dinner.

2:00p
Meeting with a Perch & Play employee who has had trouble with being on time consistently. We have a very frank conversation about her work habits. This particular staffer has committed to a twice-weekly music event at Perch & Play. Parents and kids seem to really love it, but she's no better than 50/50 consistent on actually being available to lead it. Twice in the last month we've advertised it only to have her cancel the morning-of. That's gotta stop. I tell her so.

3:00p
Prep for tomorrow's meetings. I've got 4 tours of Skookum House, all fundraising or volunteer recruitment opportunities. I'm reading bios on the attendees, confirming times, and rehearsing my pitch.

4:00p
Preparing for Monday's 1624 meeting. These days I'm in 3-4 advocacy related meetings per month and I still don't know my way around this world, so they require quite a lot of preparation. I'm raising the issue of retaliation against foster parents on Monday. I've heard several stories of this, and need to raise it with the state-wide committee.

5:40p
Making some notes about how a drop off program might work at Perch & Play. At least once a week, someone either asks if they can leave their kids with us or does it without asking. Seems clear that the market expects this place to offer some kind of on-demand childcare. It doesn't, but if that's what the market wants, I'd like to satisfy the market.

There are some complications. It represents a different universe of liability, and I'm not sure how to price it. But it's what the market wants, so I'm going to at least try.

6:46p
Headed home. No evening meetings today, so I'm home for dinner and in for the night. Keely and I are watching the new season of Sherlock, so we enjoy that before bed at 10p.

Work/Life Balance is Dumb

(2016) Day in the Life of a Non-Profit Executive Director