The Difference Between Employee and Employer: Free Time for Family

The Difference Between Employee and Employer: Free Time for Family

Cyclone Septic business owner, Mark Chase (left), assists his employee, Mike Bolen, as he pumps out a septic tank in a residential neighborhood in Williams, Arizona. (Photo by Darnell Renee)

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Mark Chase spent 32 years as a refuse truck driver for a large company in Phoenix with a relentless focus on the bottom line that pushed employees hard. When he retired and bought a septic pumping company, Cyclone Septic, in Williams, Arizona, Chase was determined to operate differently. But the large company did have one benefit Chase hasn’t been able to enjoy since becoming his own boss.

“The biggest adjustment for me was, at the big company, I’d go in, put in my time, come home, and when I was home that was my free time, my family time. Now that I own a business, there really isn’t any free time. I’m always working. It’s been hard to carve out time for my grandkids, my wife.”

Even when he gets away, he’s only partially successful. When he and his wife, Trenna, went hunting last year, they came home for lunch, then pumped out a septic tank before heading back out again (both got their elk). Chase is determined not to work Sundays, but he still often does. He knows people rely on him and he’s not going to leave anyone stranded.

“That’s why I’m so busy, because I’m trying to do everything for everyone,” he says. “It’s a scheduling nightmare most days, trying to figure out how to get everybody taken care of. We have grown so much, so fast.” The one exception to his nonstop schedule is three-day family outings to Lake Havasu several times a year.

Chase currently has two employees and needs at least one more technician. But it’s tough to do, he says. “It’s like trying to find a unicorn.”

So, he’s currently working in the field, which he says he doesn’t mind but he’d rather be the guy meeting with customers and selling the accounts.

Despite the toll on his personal life, Chase says he loves what he’s doing. “It’s not anything I’m complaining about,” he says. “It’s just that I don’t get to just shut down and relax.”

Read more about Cyclone Septic in the May issue of Pumper magazine.


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