How many hours a week do you spend working at a full-time job? What if you include your travel time, your lunch hour, the extra time spent to look professional, the time it takes to de-stress after work? That 40-hour work week is starting to use up 60 hours of your week.
What do you earn per hour? What if you subtract the cost of your travel to and from work, what you spend on eating out for lunch, coffee, snacks, what you spend escaping from thinking about work? What if you subtract what Uncle Sam takes? That $25 per hour is starting to look like $14.
One of my best friends is just finishing her last week of work. Yup, she pulled the trigger and has quit her job without another job to take its place. GASP. I guess 20 years at the place was enough. She has told me she is feeling excited, scared, sad, regretful, empowered and terrified.
All of those emotions at one time has got to be absolutely draining.
I think what she is actually doing is choosing happiness.
With this in mind I prescribe the following for my friend:
Week 1: Sleep as much as you can, you need it! Cry and laugh as much as you need to. Veg in front of the television, radio, and computer as much as you want.
Weeks 2-3: Clean your house, the way you always wished you could when working full-time. Cook healthy meals for your family and spend quality time with your hubby and kids.
Weeks 4-8: Get yourself on a schedule with a set wake up time and bedtime. Figure out 2 or 3 positive mantras you will repeat to yourself when negative thoughts enter your head. Something like “I make more money in my consulting and side jobs then I did when working full-time and I am SO much happier!” Do not get wrapped up in negative thinking, it can suck you up into a whirlwind of bad energy!
Read books that can help you figure out what is important to you. I recommend the following books to get you going:
- “Your Money or Your Life” by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. I stole my copy from you 15 years ago.
- “Three Simple Steps” by Trevor Blake
- “The Joy of Strategy” by Allison Rimm
Don’t just read them, do the exercises! Even the ones that seem silly and especially the ones that seem hard. You are unemployed now and have the time! The questions at the beginning of this post regarding how many hours do you work and your hourly salary were inspired by an exercise in “Your Money or Your Life”. These books and countless others can help you question everything, to prioritize what is important, to figure out what makes you happy. What you figure out may change your life!
In your first 3 months of unemployment you will get caught up in Facebook, surfing the internet, and organizing everything. You will reflect on your 20 years at your job and scream, cry, and laugh uncontrollably. You will wonder why you felt desperate to quit and why it took you so long to do so. The first time you burst into tears call JB, she will remind you why this was a good decision. The first time you laugh uncontrollably call me, I will laugh with you and remind you to stay the course.
You have an amazing opportunity right now to make changes to your life that will impact your family as well as yourself for the rest of your life. You likely have no one to thank (or blame) for this opportunity other than yourself and your spouse. Don’t waste it! It would be easy to just get caught up in finding another job that pays
$25 oops $14 per hour. It would be easy to sleep late, read trashy novels, and shop ’til you drop. These are just distractions. You have to do the work of figuring yourself out!
I know, I know you need to work. We all do. We all need the almighty paycheck. Still, promise me you won’t waste this opportunity.
When I gave myself this type of opportunity a few years ago, what I discovered is that I craved flexibility and control over my time more than I wanted the security of a full-time job. I wanted time with my loved ones, doing activities I enjoy, more than I wanted cable TV, new clothes, expensive entertainment or new gadgets.
I walked away from a full-time job earning good money in order to find myself. Corny right? Yet here I sit, dishing out free advice to my friend who is about to do the same thing. BEWARE. Reading this blog might make you quit your job, figure out what makes you happy, prioritize what is important to you, and live a life that is meaningful. It might make you choose health, wealth and happiness over a 40-hour work week.
So my friend, don’t waste this opportunity. You are an amazingly smart, witty, educated, empowered woman. You can and you will find work that is meaningful to you and that helps your family pay the bills. Just don’t take the first full-time gig that comes along because you think you need a paycheck.
I am willing to bet that if you brainstormed for a while, you could reduce your monthly expenses by $1,000. Check out how I did by reading Change a Little, Change a Lot. Think about it, if you can reduce your monthly expenses by $1,000 and your real hourly wage, from the exercise above is $14 per hour, you can reduce your hours worked by 17.8 per week and not actually get behind in your bills or savings.
How I reached this conclusion:
You reduced your expenses by $1,000 per month or $250 per week
$250 divided by $14 (your real hourly wage) is 17.8 hours per week.
Alternatively you could take a job that paid less but that you enjoyed more and still not fall behind.
THIS IS CREATIVE THINKING IN MY LITTLE BLUE KAYAK!