Life happens. And our work may take a back seat to whatever situation is demanding our attention.

Right now, my voiceover friends on the East Coast are battening down the hatches, shutting off their studios and hunkering down waiting for hurricane Irene to do whatever it is she is going to do. In that arbitrary way nature has, she will surprise some with a tree limb through the front porch, or an inch or two of water in the basement, or pass over with nothing more than a few small branches in the street.

Thankfully the worst is probably over now – for Irene. But something else will come along and interrupt our regularly scheduled programming.

Actually, some of life’s curve balls can be predicted and planned for – sort of. The past couple of years I took on the added responsibility of taking care of my mother. Moved her out to San Diego from New York State when it became harder and harder to solve the problems cropping up from 3000 miles away – over the phone.

I was really not prepared for the reality of what this meant. The result was that I ended up working at odd hours just trying to service my existing clients as I balanced the unexpected nature of developing dementia. Marketing took a backseat to making sure mom was safe and happy – and that work was delivered on time and with the same high quality.

My mother is now in Assisted Living and we are both starting to adjust to the new freedom it brings. I know that she is safe – which means that I don’t have to jump up and run over to solve a problem. She always has something going on so there don’t seem to be so many problems! This allows me to start getting back to a more regular schedule.

As a free lancer working out of my house 90% of the time, I actually had the luxury of a great boss ( ;-) ) who understood the need for time shifting in order to meet deadlines. And my existing clients are a wonderful bunch who have understood the occasional need to move a session or delay a delivery a little bit.

Hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, floods, tornados, tsunamis – Mother Nature is not as forgiving a boss. Plan for what you can. And if the unexpected happens, we have to do the best we can.