Actually, it was September 1st of last year, but who is counting. Close enough, right? Either way, about a year ago I up and quit my job. After many discussions at home with the wife and a little advance financial planning, I walked into my job of 4 years and gave my notice. No one saw it coming…we were a very small company and my leaving had never been discussed. But after a few years of not being given the support that I asked for and some health issues taking their toll, I decided that I was better off on my own trying to sort things out. So 30 days later (Yes, I was generous because I wanted to make sure that a few projects got handled for some clients), I was outta there. And if you happen to have been a reader from a while ago, you know that I got lucky…I got a job just a few days later. No, I don’t make as much as I used to, but I am a lot happier and a lot healthier, and that what was really important to me. So what have I been doing since I quit?
First off, I am still doing the job I got just a few days after I left. It’s no longer the 40+ hours per week job that it was, but it still provides me with about 20 hours a week of work. Add that to the work I do for outside clients, the blogs I run and various other things, and I make a pretty decent living. And, I get to do it at home. Again, I don’t make as I made before at my cushy job…but money never was a motivating factor for me. Happiness is way more valuable to me the older I get and I have learned that money only provides so much of it.
I have gotten to see what it feels like being my own boss. Sure, those 20 hours a week that I work are for a company and I am on their payroll…but the hours I work are up to me. I get to decide when and how long I do their work, and how much time I put into other work that is available to me. It’s a pretty cool feeling, knowing that I do not have to work on a Tuesday if I just don’t feel like it. Red Sox game on in the afternoon? No problem, I just turn the computer off and go flick on the TV.
It has encouraged me to learn new skill sets. I have learned new stuff about what I do for a living, learned a lot more about blogging, and I have started taking more tennis classes that start earlier in the day. At my old job I went 4 years without really doing anything different; I was comfortable, the work was easy and I knew I was irreplaceable…sure it was a dead end job but I got paid well to learn nothing new and do nothing difficult. Trust me, it gets boring after a while. Freeing myself from that environment invigorated me to try new things and to see what else is out there, and it has been an eye-opening experience.
I get to be even more anal about how organized I am. Whether this is a good or a bad thing, it is the way I am. And being at home all day gives me even more time to purge, clean, and organize. Call it OCD or whatever, but my house is cleaner, I have sold a ton of our stuff to make some extra money, my financial (and life) records are in order and under control, and I have a much calmer personality because I am not coming home pissed off every day from work.
Overall, life is good. In fact, it’s better than good, it’s great. I make my own hours, I decide what projects I work on, I can take vacations and time off when I feel like it, I get to try new things and have new experiences…and a lot of this would not have been possible without me taking that plunge of quitting my stable but boring gig and trying something new. I guess I am writing this to encourage you to give your work life a real in-depth look…are you doing something you truly enjoy, or doing something only because it pays well? Can you take chances in your everyday life, or does what you do to make money limit your ability to try new things? Are you happy? I would never tell anyone to do what I did…it can take months if not years to find new work. But I both planned ahead AND got lucky, and it has worked out well. Plus, I have time on Wednesday afternoons to walk over to the Farmer’s Market to get our groceries. 😉 Life is good.