Hello everyone, Clay here bringing you another personal blog.  This time, I want to discuss, at least for the moment, why it is I don’t collaborate with people.  I get these requests all the time, and despite me having made this clear numerous times via twitter every time I get new followers inevitably, someone asks me to guest on their podcast or their live stream or something.

And I am flattered, truly I am.  I would love to be able to do these things.  Hell, a few weeks ago (at the time of writing this) I got offered a paid guest spot on a show.  It would have paid me an amount equal to what I make working for the hours worked no less (which is pretty good) and I still had to turn it down.

“But Clay!” I can already hear you saying “You won’t grow if you don’t network!”  And you would be right. I can’t.  I grow very slowly compared to what people apparently think I should be.  I am small potatoes compared to many others.  And part of that is because I don’t collaborate, or network.

But the reason?  Why I don’t do these things?  Well, in order to explain this I am going to have to get a bit personal about my life.  I don’t mind, but be ready for some knowledge.

Now, prior to January 2018 the answer was time.  I had little free time after work due to the way my wifes and my own schedule matched up.  So I would spend my evenings after work spending time with her, as she worked on the weekend.  She still does, by the way, but now my available free time has plummeted.  Because of changes to my job in January 2018.

You see, in January of 2018 my job moved their office.  I went from having a 15 minute commute daily (one way) to having a 1 hour and 15 minute commute in the mornings, and a 1 hour and 30 minute commute at night.  My job is a 40 hour a week Monday thru Friday job.  Here is how my day breaks down now, this is not an exaggeration mind you.

  • Wake up at 5am EST to get ready for work, make mine and my wife’s lunch, ect.
  • Leave my apartment at 630 am EST to take my wife to work. If I don’t have to take her to work (she starts at 7am) I leave the house at 645am EST.
  • So far I have 1 hour and 30 minutes of “free time” in the morning, for the record. And I am usually fairly groggy / waking up for at least half that time.
  • Now, we either drop my wife off to work and then I go to work OR I go straight to work. My work day starts at 8am EST.
  • I have a 30 minute lunch. I get off work at 430pm EST.  My wife, for the record, gets off work at 4pm EST (and we only have 1 car / can only afford 1 car)
  • I leave work, and either arrive HOME at 5:45pm (assuming I didn’t have to pick up the wife) OR arrive to her work at around that 6pm EST, and then go home (getting home around 6:15pm)
  • I then have approx. 2 hours to take a shower, eat dinner, and try to relax before going to bed around 8pm EST. Sometimes I stay up till 830pm!  Ooooo getting fancy.

My free time, nightly during the week, consists of 2 to 2.5 hours.  That’s it.  That’s all.  And THAT’S assuming I don’t have ANY ERRANDS to run such as shopping, getting gas in my car, picking up medication, doing chores around the house, ect.

I literally have almost no free time during the week.  Instead, I have an effective near 60 hour work week and I am only paid for 40 of that.

But what about the weekends I hear you cry!  Surely you have time then?  HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

So if my wife works (and she usually does) I again STILL get up at 5am EST.  I take her to work and come home.  Saturdays I do Laundry, which takes about 2 hours.  So I am usually done with Laundry around 930am EST.  My wife usually gets off work at 4pm so I leave my home at 330pm EST to make sure I can pick her up.  My free time on the weekend is basically from 930am to 330pm EST on Saturdays, and 730am to 330pm EST on Sundays (basically) assuming my wife’s schedule is not weird.  There is variance here.

And do you know what I do in those hours?  EVERYTHING.  I try to do shopping here, I try to do car repairs / maintenance, errands, sending mail out, working on the blog and reviews and reading things, playing games specifically to review them, prepping for any DND games (as a player or a DM) and on rare occasions trying to relax and let myself wind down finally after a week of work.  Then when my wife gets home I FINALLY get to spend time with her, and I am STILL in bed by 9pm EST at the LATEST on these weekends.

So where, exactly, can I fit in a collaboration or guest spot?  Where in my limited free time do I have space to do these things?  I am not giving up what time I get to spend with my wife for anything, so that’s not happening.  And to make this EVEN WORSE?  I only know my wifes schedule 2 weeks in advance, which makes planning for anything in the little bit of free time I get on the weekends to be insanely difficult.

But it gets better.  There is a second issue I contend with.  My health.

I am a Type 2 diabetic, and I have a heart condition.  The medications I am on for these things, coupled with me not paying attention to the Type 2, has caused me to have issues involving my digestive system and stomach.  Essentially, I am in the bathroom every hour or two, for upwards of 15 minutes, dealing with things.  I have FMLA (Family Medical Leave) at work because of these issues.  Sometimes I have cramps and other problems that are so bad I miss work.  Often however its just constant bathroom breaks.

How exactly would I handle a stream guest spot, or a podcast guest spot, where they expect me to sit and not move for several hours?  I can’t do that, its not physically possible for me to accomplish this anymore.

These two issues, time and health, combined make it essentially impossible for me to do collaborations or guest spots without significant issues for the other party.  How exactly am I to appear on a stream when I gotta piss every hour and sometimes worse?  How am I going to do an interview when the only available time is when other people are busy with their families?  How am I going to schedule things when I can only work 2 weeks in advance?

Plenty of people have told me things like “we will work around you with our group” but that’s unfair to the other group.  Why should several people have to adjust their lives to accommodate me and my issues?  The fact is, they shouldn’t.  And I won’t allow it to happen.  So I say no, to everything and anything.

Maybe one day it will change, and I will be able to say yes sometimes.  I have managed to do 2 interviews in my entire “career” online here, and that was only cause 1 guy was in the UK and thus was fine with the time I could manage, and the second works a night shift and just stayed awake.  And in both cases it was just effecting a single person other than me, and in both cases they got nearly no warning.

So there you have it.  That’s why I don’t collaborate.  I hope this explains things in enough detail.  And any time anyone asks me to collab, from now on, is going to get linked to this to explain why I am saying no.


The Collaboration Conundrum
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