On March 31, 2017 I said goodbye to my co-workers and ventured into the land of unemployment. I guess I can start referring to myself as a stay-at-home-wife or a stay-at-home-stepmom or maybe a stay-at-home-dogmom? The thought of taking the leap had been rolling around in my head for months…years actually, but I continued to stick it out because I was sure that the things I didn’t like I would just get used to or maybe things could change. I researched how to prepare to quit my job and figured that I either needed a different job lined up upon quitting or have three to six months of earnings saved up to get through some time of reflection and job search. I did neither! Both of those tasks are easier said than done. Job hunting takes some major time and resources and can be generally draining — sending out resumes and cover letters to every possibility, trying to schedule interviews during regular work days (and most were out of town), considering job offers to see if they even fit with what I was now looking for, etc. Saving three to six months of earnings would take much longer than I had left in me to stick out the current job. By the time I really decided to quit I was so far down that path in my head that I couldn’t imagine staying for many months longer to put a safety net into place. So I followed no sound advice and took a leap.
I actually didn’t dislike my job. What I disliked was working in an office Mon-Fri from 9-5. I strongly disliked it and was looking for deeper flexibility in my hours and the ability to get out of an office chair a lot more often than I was. I was reconsidering what career path my education was leading me down and whether I was doing what I ACTUALLY loved doing. There are so many things to take into consideration when choosing a career and I very honestly never prioritized happiness as one of the considerations. I thought about the things that I loved — creativity, a bit of writing, hands on work, being outdoors, animals, being active, early mornings to myself — none of those boxes were being checked off in the career path I had chosen. I had been working so hard and for years to reach my goal of HR certification and then I finally got to the finish line and thought, what am I doing? I could put together everything I need to be certified as an HR professional, but I realized that I don’t want to…at all. So I didn’t. I walked away.
So what did I do to prepare for quitting? I talked to my husband about it a LOT. For months I had discussed that idea of quitting my job, what that might look like, what his thoughts and worries were (if he had any) and some timelines I had in mind. I stuck it out to get through some financially heavy times such as Christmas and and upcoming family vacation to Disneyland, but once we had passed those stress periods I felt home free. I crunched the numbers, crunched and crunched and crunched, and figured we could get by on his income alone for awhile. I also had a couple of side jobs lined up which brought in small portion of income to ease the financial stress. But all in all, I was as ready as I would ever be to quit my career. And that was it. I have not been actively seeking employment and don’t actually plan on it until the end of summer (which I’m certain will fly by much too fast).
The month of April (the first full month of unemployment) FLEW by. I had so many things in mind that I was going to complete with all of this extra time on my hands. A major spring clean of the house (only partly started), setting up a meal plan and making it routine (failing miserably), making mainly healthy meals for my family to replace the quick meals we were relying on when we were both too busy to cook (also failing), get back to my healthy, active self (not quite even close to there yet), completing some pinterest projects (mildly achieving) and a few other things. I feel like I am underachieving and have not fallen into a comfortable ‘unemployed’ routine as of yet. I thought my to-do list would be completed by now and I would be well on my way to fitting into the clothes I have hidden away in boxes, however, I am so very far from those checkmarks. I am realizing that it took three years to accumulate this to-do list and to get so far from my former self and it’s unrealistic to get it back after only a few months So now I am reminding myself to practice self empathy and patience through this unknown chapter of my life.
Until next time,