The day has come. My moratorium on paid work is officially over. I have been approached for a part-time contract with Parallel Public Works. Pete, the owner, is a friend of mine from high school. We reconnected last year and I got him involved with a project at the YWCA. Pete read my blog through the links posted on Facebook and decided that his company could fulfill my requirements and the time I had available. I am excited about the mix of creativity, innovation, and technology at PPW, and I look forward to being a part of that.
When I set out on this adventure, I hoped that one day I could make a similar living in half the time. It was this concept that helped Tom get behind my decision. Tom is happy that our budget may soon be less strict and that he can justify helping out around the house more, as our time will be equally valued.
Leaving my job was a big risk. Giving up income, benefits, and reputation to jump into the abyss of the unknown was scary. I highly recommend it. Contrary the sage advice “Don’t Quit Your Job Before You Get Another One,” sometimes you need time to get your shit together – especially if you value happiness over wealth. When you are putting all your energy into a job you hate, it’s a real challenge to put in the effort required to get the job of your dreams. If you approach your time off just like you would any other project (goals, timelines, milestones, marketing) it doesn’t have to be a bad career move.
Hanging out with my dear friends, and owners of Tasty last night, we talked about dreams and financial risks. Sheri gave up a considerable salary to live her dream of selling local art. Yet, they don’t feel like they had to change their lifestyle all that much, and the minor sacrifices are more than compensated by the incredible thing they have created. I concur. We were all baffled at where all that money could have been going.
I’ll never forget Chris Hanley (1967-2001), who I befriended at Bloomberg during my internship there. I had been mooning about how wonderful it must be to make all that money and how I couldn’t wait to pull in a salary like his someday. He simply and sadly said, “You’ll always spend as much as you make.” I can now prove that he was exactly right. RIP Chris.
I am look forward to earning an income again not simply for the money that will easily get spent, but because I actually miss being a part of a team and getting things done. It took 100 days to realize that. Here are the other things I have realized:
1. Time is more valuable than money, and both are easily wasted
2. Full time work makes me fat, but not working doesn’t make me skinny.
3. It’s hard to have interesting things to write about regularly and even harder to produce photos to go with it. Out of these 100 days I wrote 45 posts and that is a bit disappointing.
4. I don’t miss downtown Seattle, and West Seattle has everything I need.
5. This experiment would have been a lot more fun in the summer months.
6. Yoga is essential to my well being, but also doesn’t make me skinny.
7. Quitting smoking was one of the best gifts I could give my family for Christmas.
8. The unstructured life of a mom is better with a lot of planning and, um, structure.
9. The Facebook effect (when you see your friends and they are already up-to-date on your activities) is nothing compared to when you have a blog.
10. My writing is good enough that my friends and family enjoy reading it.
After 100 days I feel calm and clear. I feel inspired. The question is now the “or more” part. I initially added the padding to allow myself extra time if I needed it. I thought it would be harder to find part-time work in the way I wanted it. Yet, even though I am technically done with this sabbatical, I don’t feel like my project is over entirely. I want to keep blogging (maybe not as often). I know I have not yet become the person I want to be, but I feel like I have the recipe for the life I have always dreamed of. I hope to share my continued transformation and what I learn with you here if you will let me.