We’re back from our vacation and ready to face the world of work and responsibility again. Yeah, right! Like 70% of my fellow Americans, I didn’t want to get up this morning and drag myself in to work…even though I only have to drag myself across the room to my desk.
When I logged in to our email server, I was greeted with more than 200 “I need this” and “Can you please do this first?” messages. My first inclination was to drag myself back to bed. I’m sure some of you can relate.
I’ve been working on an exit strategy since August, when I first posted about my fear of resigning in Quitting Isn’t Easy…Even for a Quitter. During our vacation, I tried not to think about it but when you’re enjoying a leisurely lunch by the duck pond after a 2-hour stroll through Philadelphia, it’s hard not to imagine a life where every day is built upon such simplicity.
Work is a necessary evil, my mother likes to tell me. But is it really? I just finished a book called Job Free: Four Ways to Quit the Rat Race and Achieve Financial Freedom on Your Terms. In the book, Jake Desyllas outlines four different ways to achieve financial freedom – from extreme saving to starting your own business. Since I’m not entrepreneurial (I have zero interest in owning a business or creating a startup to sell), the path that attracted me most was un-jobbing. (Extreme saving ran a close second but I couldn’t see myself staying in this job – or one like it – or the next 10 years.)
Un-jobbing has a variety of definitions (as I learned by Googling it) but basically in Desyllas’s book, it means making a living by doing something (or many things) that you enjoy, rather than punching a clock to earn a paycheck or climbing the proverbial ladder of success. Un-jobbing means you don’t have just one job that supports your lifestyle (and probably drains you of the energy to enjoy that lifestyle). Instead, you diversify your work life, similar to diversifying your investment portfolio.
I’ve dabbled in un-jobbing for a long time, as evidenced by my great big list of jobs, but for the past 5 years, I’ve more or less settled into a routine, spending the majority of my time on one job. Similarly, we’ve pretty much depended on just one source of income to pay our bills. As an investment strategy, putting all of our money into one stock or mutual fund wouldn’t be a sound idea. So why then do we place all of our proverbial eggs in one basket when it comes to work?
I don’t know but I’m absolutely certain this is where I need to start when it comes to getting my work life in line with my real life. As I’ve said many times, I love my work as a writer. I’m just not such a big fan of meetings…or emails…or putting out fires that are taking place in another state. Yes, I’m just decompressing here but honestly, I don’t really like a structured work environment.
The best way to escape someone else’s structure is to create your own. I know that I’m capable of doing that. I get at least 5 emails a week from folks with project work available. In fact, right now, I have a grant to write for another non-profit and a list of projects to be completed by the end of the month for one of our side-hustles. By themselves, they won’t pay the rent, but in combination with some of the other gigs that I usually turn down, they might. The work would be varied, which might keep me interested longer, and I would get to set the structure and pace of my workday. In that respect, un-jobbing sounds like a good choice.
So how would I get there? Well…for starters, I would have to finally pull the trigger on my resignation. I can’t accept a “job restructuring” or whatever else is offered to me this time. I have to finally just say no. And I have decided to do that on Friday.
I’m sure they’ll say that I’m having the post-vacation blues and that I should take some time to reconsider. Or maybe they’ll surprise me and say they’ve anticipated this for a while now. Or better yet…maybe they secretly read this blog and I won’t even have to tell them. I don’t see that happening so I’m going to get to work on my letter now. While I’m doing that, if you want to read about our frugal vacation adventures, hop on over to our travel journal, Going Sightseeing.
Keep your fingers crossed that I don’t chicken out on Friday.