Our un-jobbing endeavor is taking shape – albeit a different kind of shape than I first imagined. When we made the decision to un-job, I admit, I was worried that we’d either find ourselves working too much or too little. We’d either have so many little jobs that our free time wouldn’t be all that free or we’d have so few jobs that our free time would always be spent trying to find more jobs. Neither scenario fit with what I wanted our life to look like so I decided perhaps I had the wrong idea of what un-jobbing was supposed to be.
So I did a little research. The best definition that I found comes from Michael Fogler’s book “Un-Jobbing: The Adult Liberation Handbook”. To paraphrase, un-jobbing means pulling all areas of your life into alignment with your personal values and living more simply and consciously. It’s not retirement but rather a shift from the full-time career with benefits path to a home-based, non-job-dominated life that still supports all of your financial needs.
Yep, that about sums it up for us. We still have to earn a living but our focus is less on the method of earning than on the freedoms we can afford through a more simplified lifestyle.
The first step in our un-jobbing process (besides resigning from my full-time job) was to create a realistic budget. The minimum amount that we felt we could comfortably live on was roughly $2,250 per month. This amount includes our rent, utilities, health insurance, life insurance, renter’s insurance, auto insurance, cell phones, home entertainment, gas, groceries, and miscellaneous household spending. It also allows us to continue our aggressive 3-year student loan payoff plan, while still saving 10% of our income for emergencies. Yes, we could live on less but over the years we’ve learned that happiness decreases when financial stress increases. I don’t want to put us in a position to regret our decision. You’ll note that this budget doesn’t include dining out, travel, or hobbies, which are all still very important to us. I’ll explain in a bit.
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been working on securing income producing opportunities. I suppose you could call them jobs if you want but I prefer to call them revenue streams. The first stream (and the largest) is with a non-profit that I’ve worked with in the past. I’ll be managing their grants – from my home office and on my own schedule (about 28 hours per week). The second stream is with a merchandising contractor that Angie and I have both worked with over the past few months. Their projects are offered through a self-service portal so we have the option to accept or decline work as our schedule permits. The third stream is comprised of various odd jobs and side hustles – things like Easy Shift, delivering groceries for Shipt, selling clutter on eBay, etc.
Our living expenses should largely be covered by my work with the non-profit. As such, we’ve decided to spend no more than 20 hours per month (unless we’re working toward a specific goal) on merchandising projects and side hustles. The pay per project varies but on average we could earn about $450 per month, which we plan to split equally among our general savings account (to cover those months when we aren’t quite on budget), our dedicated travel/experiences account, and cash (or “mad money” for entertainment and dining out).
Since the whole point of un-jobbing is to have a non-job-dominated life, let’s talk for a second about the non-financial side of our new plan. If you’ve been adding along the way, you’ll note that our new work week will consist of about 33 work hours. The old work week was about 50+ hours (40 for my full-time job and 10+ for our side hustles). As someone who has a tendency to fill my free time doing things for other people (like babysitting), I have to make a conscious effort to do things for myself. Our own health and well-being is equally important to the needs of the other people in our lives. As such, Angie and I have taken Wednesdays off the calendar (so to speak). This is going to be our day to do something for ourselves, even if that something is simply curling up on the couch with a book all day. Saturdays can be filled with a mix of fun and chores and Sundays will remain the day we dedicate to spending time with family, but Wednesdays are just for us.
By un-jobbing, we’ve reduced our annual income by approximately $8,000. Or if you want to look at it a little differently, we bought back 884 hours of own time for 2017. That’s essentially 22 full time work weeks. How crazy is that???
No wonder we’re pretty excited about the whole plan.