I gave my notice at my job a few weeks ago. I sat across from my boss, took a deep breath, and told him I was leaving.
Unlike a lot of people, I actually sort of like my job. I like my coworkers, the environment is nice, and my boss is a sweetie pie. I feel appreciated and I’ve been given enough flexibility to go off and do things outside my job description, like build websites. It’s about as comfy a job as I could hope for.
So why in the hell would I want to leave? That was more or less the question my boss asked me. I didn’t have another job lined up. I wasn’t moving out of town. I was just going to, um, stop being employed. Yes, in this job market. Yes, in this economy.
Well, what the hell, right? How do I just up and quit my damn job? What the hell kind of nutjob starry eyed dreamer am I? The point of “work” is to get income, right? And the point of continuing to work is to get more income.
This “Heather quitting her job” idea wasn’t without a lot of discussion. I have derived my income from a paycheck for practically all my life. And it wasn’t really even because I was chomping at the bit to quit my job. Remember I said I like my job? But sitting in an office for nine hours a day is a looooong time.
I realized this as our own projects have piled up more and more. When we launched PDX Web Ads last month, I was up until the wee small hours during the week, finishing up emails, working on graphics, planning out tasks. Then getting up, bleary eyed, and going to my job in the morning.
I know how heroic this sounds. I did this for days. While we also had other projects and websites to build. Our free time outside of work has been taken up by our own work. Fun work. The kind of work we like. The kind of work we want to build and grow.
Dave has been encouraging me to quit for a while. We have endeavored to get to a point where it won’t be too painful to live on one income. We have no debt, which for me, was a lot of work. I was chewing my nails over paying bills when I first arrived in Portland three years ago. But last year, I got rid of the last bit of credit card debt and we paid off the car.
Also this month, after getiing rid of much of our extraneous crapola, we are moving into a (much) smaller apartment downtown, saving $500 in rent. We’ll also save on transportation costs by leaving the car parked and walking everywhere. We’ll trim expenses in other areas, also. Except for coffee. Coffee is non-negotiable. I start frothing and biting.
It might seem like using our money to pay off debt, getting rid of our stuff, and living in smaller spaces are pretty gigantic sacrifices. But these weren’t hard choices for us. We want to need less. We are weird.
All this means we need less income. I explained much of this to my boss. All the starry eyed dreaming. Unlike most managers, my boss is an actual human being. I told him I like my job, but I need more time. How often does it happen that you put in your notice at a job, and you not want to run around the place screaming for joy that you are leaving that god forsaken hellhole? He joked that we could take Dave out for a beer and convince him to quit his job, so he could stay home and work on projects, and I could stay and work. That would be great for my boss. But Dave is also the biggest advocate for me to put my energy into developing our own businesses.
As my boss and I talked about it, we discussed the possibility of going part time. We could shuffle some of my urgent daily tasks to someone else, and I could keep doing some of the specialized accounting stuff that no one else wants to do. You know, the crappy stuff.
So that’s what is happening. I tried to quit. But we ended up deciding I could go part time. I’ll have more time to work on our own projects, but I’ll still contribute a little household income that will allow us to keep saving a bit.
This feels like a good solution. It’s probably the best of all scenarios. It won’t be too disruptive, it’s not yet a huge leap of faith, and not a reckless escape where I set things on fire as I leave. Screaming. With no pants on.
What? Like you haven’t had that dream yourself.
(Update: I Quit My Job)