The Things We Do For Cash

It’s finally official! As of last Friday, I am no longer employed! I will say, leaving a job when you are a remote employee is kind of…well…disappointing. I got a nice card in the mail but there was no farewell party, no cupcake toast in my honor. The same folks who forgot I was there when I was working, also forgot to say goodbye. But it’s all good. I realized as I was typing my “catch you on the next one” email to my coworkers – I don’t really know them either! The team that I started with started leaving last year and I was the lone holdout.

When I woke up on Monday morning (my first day of freedom), I had coffee, read for an hour, and opened my laptop. I may have left my job, but I didn’t opt out of work completely. I mean, I still have to pay for Netflix and all…so I got busy.

Truthfully, it’s been a pretty busy month. Kind of chaotic, really. I didn’t exactly coast out of my regular job. I was writing fast and furiously up until 10 AM of my last day there, and all the while I was lining up new freelance writing contracts and a couple of side gigs. I just didn’t expect to land so many, all at once! But…abundance is a problem I’m happy to have, because in the world of gig work, abundance itself can be a short-term contract.

So, what did this chaos look like exactly? Well, let me tell you…

  • We earned $260 from approximately 12 hours of retail merchandising through Easy Shift, Field Agent, and Retail Merchandising Services, Inc. (RMS). Easy Shift and Field Agent are phone apps, with jobs often taking less than 10 minutes to complete. We mostly took jobs at the shopping center next door, where we could combine a few minutes of work with a nice walk. RMS is a dedicated merchandising gig at Target. I will be getting 4-5 hours a week from them and the work is fairly straightforward – straighten reading glasses, restock a 4-foot section of toys, count Rand McNally atlases, etc. It’s something that can easily be done in a morning, followed by a picnic lunch in the park.
  • We earned $280 from writing a capital campaign grant for one of my nonprofit clients.
  • We earned $20 (and a jar of peach butter) for checking in on the neighbor’s cats while she was away for the weekend.
  • We earned $282 counting houses. Sometimes really cool gigs just appear out of nowhere and this was one we couldn’t pass up. We spent one Wednesday and one Saturday driving around new subdivisions counting the number of houses under construction. Not including our stops for a picnic lunch and a visit to the organic grocer while we were out, we spent about 14 hours on this gig. And it was something we got to do together, which made it even more fun. This is one that we’ll be doing quarterly going forward. (The company is called Hanley-Wood/Metrostudy in case you’re interested to see if they have this gig in your area.)

And though, I haven’t clocked any billable hours yet, I also started contracting with a nonprofit in California.

If you add all this side-hustling up, you’ll get a grand total of $842 – or as some of the more pessimistic folks in my family like to point out, not even enough to cover our rent.

Oh, negative people, I have no space for you these days!

We may be canoeing against the current here, but negative thinking can sink a ship faster than hitting an iceberg. (I’m not sure if that’s a mixed metaphor, but I like it, so I’m leaving it 😊)

We opted to be proactive this month, which led to a lot of small money-making opportunities all at once. And for that, I will be nothing but grateful. Who cares if it doesn’t meet someone else’s ideal! We had fun. We feel free. We are happy. And isn’t that the real goal anyway?

And Just Like That, I Quit

I have never had the most impeccable timing when it comes to life-altering decisions, I will admit. I either overthink myself into immobility or I jump without looking at the terrain below. There aren’t really a whole lot of in-betweens with me. I can rationalize things to death and then never act on them. Or I can do things like I did on Monday.

I woke up and quit my job.

The act itself was kind of rash but I knew last Wednesday, I was going to do it. I just needed to wait for Angie to come back from Texas to make sure we were on the same page. Luckily, we were.

Three years ago, I attempted to quit this same job. As I was rereading my posts from that timeframe (here, here, and here), one word kept coming to mind. Coward. I told everyone that I was unhappy with my job, that I felt as if I was no longer making a meaningful contribution, and that I was going to quit and try making a go in the freelance world. I really did turn in my resignation on October 21, 2016 but that very same day, I accepted a restructuring of my responsibilities into a part-time position instead.

I justified staying in the way that most of us do when we talk ourselves out of things – I convinced myself that 1) the timing wasn’t right, 2) we didn’t have enough money saved, and 3) we needed the benefits. Yep, none of that was any more or less true than it is today or the day before or will be three days from tomorrow. It is and was just an excuse.

This time, I quit for a lot of reasons. Every single one of them the same as they were 3 years ago. But mostly, I quit because I couldn’t wait any longer to get started living the life we have imagining for ourselves.

When I wrote A Sno-Ball’s Chance, we had set a financial goal for ourselves to save enough to pay our living expenses for an additional 3 months (we already have 6) before I resigned and to secure at least one permanent side hustle or writing gig. Over the past few weeks, we’ve worked (nearly non-stop) to jumpstart our plan. Even while Angie was in Texas, she was hustling. She painted a barn! In just a short amount of time, I’m happy to say that we have already exceeded our goal! We have an extra 3 months of general expenses saved and 5 months of grocery money. On top of that, I have secured 2 permanent gigs and have 2 others pending.

Leaving a secure job is SCARY! I will not deny that. Nor will I say that it’s not a little crazy too, especially when you are not in a position to fully retire. But you know what else it is? It’s EXCITING!

I have one more month of meetings and deadlines before everything I do is on my own schedule. One more month before success or failure rests solely on our shoulders. And frankly, I can’t wait!