Thursday, November 13, 2014


Take time to breathe
So I've been temping since late July in my friend's office. It’s been a good gig, 3 days a week (of my choosing, so I can rearrange the schedule to prep for craft shows – or recover from them), and the money's been welcome to replenish the savings account.

But it’s really reinforced the fact that I don’t want to be in an office anymore.

Which is not to say that I won’t do this again, when funds are low and I get an offer I can work with, but I've discovered that getting by with non-traditional jobs is much more up my alley.

Mario and I recently did a homesteading workshop in upstate NY, and one of the things that I found most interesting was that the happiest people seemed to have no “traditional” jobs – the woman who ran the workshop has a small farm, a popular blog, has written several books, and teaches archery part-time at a local resort. She lives a small, local existence with barter (of goods or of her time) being a large part of her personal economy. Another presenter teaches, but also raises pigs, does pig roasts, writes and does lumberjacking. Other presenters also have several smaller income sources that add up to almost enough to get by, and that seems to satisfy them.

After 30 years of doing a job I never particularly enjoyed (but whose salary I was very attached to because of the life it gave me), I’m over it. Each year I worried about getting a good raise, and about whether or not a co-worker who didn't work as hard, but who was less prickly, was making more than I was.

But you know what? It doesn't matter what she made (though yes, it still irks me that she was paid more for doing less) because what I was making was more than enough for the life I wanted.

I’m currently making about half of my old office salary, and before you ask, yes, Mario does contribute to some household bills, but until his own house sells, he’s paying a mortgage and utilities on a place he’s not living in – and there’s no current tenant, either. So the bulk of the expenses (mortgage, utilities, food) is coming out of my income and savings. Things will even out at some point, but for now, it’s all good.

My main takeaway from how much my life has changed in the last year or two is this: What is my time worth? What do I need so badly that I’m willing to trade my time to earn the money to pay for it?

 How we spend our time is how we spend our lives. I’m choosing not to spend mine trapped in a place where I’m not happy, not contributing anything and certainly not making anything.

I know everyone’s situation is different, and not every can – or wants to – walk away from a good 9-5 job, but this is where I am right now, and it works for me.


MrsRum said...

This: What do I need so badly that I’m willing to trade my time to earn the money to pay for it?

What an incredible thought.

And to think about what we will accept in the name of 'because'.

I can't quit yet, but I love what you've given me to think about.

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Pattyskypants said...

I have a flexible part-time office job that I absolutely love. It gives me a break in the middle of the day and I get to connect with a diverse group of people who are not of my choosing, so I have to maintain the social skills that don't come so easily. However, it's not "make or break"; it's not at the top and it's not at the bottom. It's blissfully in the middle where no one is fighting with you for the top and no one is wondering why you don't want more. Being an employee is not for everyone!

Marjie said...

We just had this conversation with our son this week. He is encouraging his bride to not fret about getting a job in the new state where they just moved, because her earnings will push them into a higher tax bracket. Instead, he's happy to let her stay home, plan to decorate the house they will soon be buying, and make decorator items to sell on Etsy. I'm proud to have bought her the machine and taught her to sew, because it makes her happy. And now she doesn't have to deal with the people you describe, because my son gets it!