How and when to jump ship on your career.
Sounds scary doesn't it? Well, it is. When you have depended on your regular income from your regular job to pay the bills, prepare for your retirement, feed and clothe the kids, pay for a mortgage, make a car payment and insurance payments, etc.
When your daily job has paid for everything for so long, it is scary to suddenly step away into a new career.
Even now as we get older my spouse and I find it terrifying if one of us finds ourselves out of a job, even for a little while. Even though one of our salaries will cover all of our expenses plus a bit. We worry about what might not get paid, or what we will miss if we are down to one income.
First and foremost, don't jeopardize your financial security. If you want to step out of your old position into a new one, start slowly- do it part time, until it becomes a full time salary. Then step out.
So what will you do? That is entirely up to you-What do you want to do?
Personally, I like to write, so while still working my "Day Job" as a IT help desk operator for (state agency who shall go unnamed), I have begun a side career doing what I love- writing. I take gigs as a copy editor, I write my own blog, and I write novels. Am I successful at it? Somewhat. Iv'e been blogging for a while, and love it. While my readership is small, my affiliate websites are getting a lot of hits which is garnishing readership. I have one novel in the works, which will be ebooked, and I am currently accepting copy editing gigs. Once the income gets to an acceptable level I will step away from my DAY JOB, hopefully that will be sooner rather than later. I'm not in a hurry, I have a job, and a sideline I enjoy, so until that happens, I'll hang where I am.
Choosing a career, any career, when your young or mature like we are is hard. No matter how many of those " Who am I, and what career is right for me?" things you fill out, isn't going to help you decide what you really like to do. They also aren't going to tell you when or how to break into your field of choice. Sometimes you just have to stick your neck out there and try something new. If it works out, and you get paid for it, all the better. Never underestimate yourself, I didn't think there was anyone out there who wanted to read what I wrote, but there is, and its not just people I know.
When beginning a new career no matter how old you are remember to make sure you can keep yourself afloat financially before you sever all the ties to your day job- think of it as working " part-time" until you have the opportunity to go "full time", once that oppurtunity is there, go for it.
We all have problems staying the course, keeping on track. I am certainly one of the worst for following the nearest squirrel that catches my eye. My trend is " oh thats cool, let's do that", or " It was lovely to vacation there, let's live there". Immediately I'm packing our belongings and putting the house on the market. Bless my other half who rides along in my wake, happy to go where I tug, and help out on my most recent venture. It's a fault that I am fully aware I have. That inconsistency of nature, or flightiness. Even now at 50 something, I find it hard to focus.
Staying on a track that is going to actually lead somewhere is hard when there are so many options out there. How do you decide which way to go? How do you keep your focus? Well, the first step is a goal.
We all need goals, if we don't have them, then what are we working toward? Do you want a stable income? Or a new car? Do you want to buy a house? Or travel ? Choose one, just one, and focus everything you do on that one goal.
A few months ago, my one goal was buying a house, not because I needed one, I had a perfectly good rental. But, because there were other advantages for our family. Stability for one; a place to always come home too. Money for another, while the initial outlay might be a chunk, in the long run, my house payment was cut in half.
I was so focused on finding a house that I drove everyone crazy until we found something we could afford, in the right area, with the right acreage. Every weekend I was dragging my poor spouse to house viewings, until we finally found our house. It's not perfect, but it's something we can work with, and that's half the battle.
I can assure you, I did not enjoy my all encompassing form of focus, and my husband certainly did not. But, it paid off in the end, not just emotionally, but financially as well. Thats a goal I can get behind, and you should too.
Choose your goals wisely. Is your goal something that's going to benefit your life in more than one way? Or is it a temporary shot of joy? Long term goals provide the best payback. something that benefits the family in the long term, be it in income, happiness, health, or stability. Goals with a long term payback are the best goals to focus your efforts on.
Failures...we all have them, and like most people we don't like to admit it. Once we start letting failures mount up, its like water breaching a dam, all downhill from there. Moving back to Missouri when we did was a small failure. Yes, it would have been better to wait until spring, but we moved in October, and suffered through the first winter shivering in coats that weren't sufficiently warm, and feet constantly wet from the snow. Yuck.
The bad part is, a little prior planning, and we'd have suffered less. That's all it would have taken -prior planning.
Prior planning seems to be something that most people don't do enough of, I know I don't , but I'm learning. Really, it comes down to what you want. Do you want to always be struggling to make your life what you want? do you always want to be looking for a place to call home? For a career that suits you? I know I don't, so Iv'e stepped up in the prior planning department
Not really... Its been a long time since I was on a horse. And, even though I grew up riding, as in every single day of my life. I'm far older now than I was then, and the ground comes at me far faster than it did then. Now buy my granddaughter a pony and teach her to ride is another story. But that really isn't what I mean. What I do mean, is that its time to get back to the topic of this website, and work on some meaningful content.
Yes, we all do it, we all slide off sideways sometimes, not keeping our mind on the task at hand. I gotta say I'm probably the worst for that. Trying to work a full time job, run this blog, keep my spouse happy, spend time with the grand child, whew! it can take a lot outta ya, not to mention house cleaning, cooking, running the normal errands required of everyday life.
Often I find myself drifting away on some wispy thought when I should be concentrating. The end result is never too attractive.
So before New Years ever gets here, I'm making a resolution to PAY ATTENTION. We all want down time. Relaxation, fun. But, not at the cost of every thing else.
So start early this year, I did.
Iv'e heard of hygge- It's supposed to be some sort of Danish relaxation that the rest of the world needs to discover, and practice. Hygge, given that the northern countries are colder than we are, is supposed to be what you see in the picture here. Some girl sitting in front of a roaring fire, sipping tea, and reading a book.
Baa, that's not really what Hygge is and it isn't solely the forte of the northern climes. Besides if I sat in a night shirt in my living room on my couch with only a pair of socks to keep me toasty I'd be a frostbite victim.
Better yet, I strive for something more. To be a good person, to make others smile, to help. To be good to animals, and nature, and myself in the process. Doing that produces a profound change in all aspects of ones life. Not only are you more community minded, your more at ease in your own skin, and for those of us who have always had a problem with that, striving for that something more helps us overcome that unsettled feeling we have always carried with us.
For the last few years I haven't been able to settle, to breath easy in my own skin. But lately, I've been doing better. I have a good job, that I seem to be doing ok at. I can pay my bills, there's food, I have weekends off with my husband for a change. We aren't struggling so much to make ends meet that we don't have time for us. Now we do...except its football season. Which is ok, because there are things that I want to do that he doesn't. I am working on getting our current rental updated with new paint, and patiently waiting to get a full month of paychecks under my belt so I can start putting away money to build the next house. While that happens, I will cook good meals, spend time outside, feed the birds, work on my furniture, and be relaxed on my weekends off. Which for me is a huge step in the right direction.
Try as I might, I can't seem to get any calm in my life. As much as I extol the virtues of taking back your time. There never seems to be enough of it.
Yesterday is a perfect example. I worked all day(my second day at my new job, at which I still feel like I'm useless). Then I rushed to the market and bought food for supper, scurried home, and BBQ'ed the pork steaks, while my husband prepared potatoes, and after everything was done, we greeted our visitors (my best friend and her husband). I quickly made a salad and everyone sat down to eat Afterward, we sampled a lovely pastie, and chatted for a half hour before the menfolk hauled in the dining table they had given us.
By the time everyone parted ways, it was 9 ish or so, where upon I flung myself on the couch for 15 minutes of television just to wind down, then headed for the shower and off to bed trailing droplets of water in my wake.
This morning I was in town by 9:15 and sorting my way through the local 2nd hand store for furniture. I'm glad I did because I found a fantastic chair and ottoman which I LOOOVVVVE. Then I tag teamed my husband who picked it up and carted it home while I did the rest of the grocery shopping for the week, made some miscellaneous purchases. Tomorrow, we have to drop of a roaster, and booster chair I borrowed from my Mom, and a knife throwing target at a friends, when we get home I have to do laundry, and sew a button on a pair of pants. Plus iron what I need to iron for next week. Not to mention I still haven't finished painting the living room so it's two, actually three different colors if you count the bead board that has to be repainted.
I still haven't found any great comfy sweaters, or long sleeve shirts for work, let alone a winter coat of any consequence.
And, tomorrow is Day light savings time switch over, so we will be getting up at 4:00am instead of 5 every morning. Sheesh, how come things are going so fast? It needs to stop, I need to take real steps to mitigate the loss of my time.
As a general rule, I don't mend. I've just never been a mender. I prefer to donate and find something else that suits me. But here lately I've found myself contemplating doing a bit of mending. A bit of flannel on the worn spot on my favorite sweater. Some sashiki stitching on the the knee of my jeans, an elbow patch here or there. Somehow its more satisfying now to mend than discard. Is it my age? Or maybe I'm just being cheap and don't want to spend the money? Who knows? All I know is that there's a certain satisfaction to sitting in a chair, mending my favorite sweater with a faded flannel patch. And, even more satisfaction of sliding into it and a pair of comfortable jeans to spend the day doing something I enjoy.
Sewing has always been my go to stress reliever anyway. Mending is just another form of that. Mending lets me keep my old favorites, and still enjoy them even though they may be less than perfectly pristine, and yet still be that comfortable piece of clothing that I return to time after time.
So, I'm off to mend my favorite gray sweater, it's got a tiny hole that needs a swatch of flannel.
Moving a great distance is never easy. It's even worse when your moving yourself. The stress of packing, booking the truck, loading the truck, who's going to drive the truck? How are we going to get the second car there? Well, at least we solved that question, we simply sold it!
We rolled into our temporary home, 3 days after we left Florida, exhausted, angry, and definitely ready to be off the road. To make matters worse our temporary home was my Mother's basement, our bed, a fold out couch. Don't get me wrong, I'll be eternally grateful for the three week stay. It gave us time to find a house in a surprisingly tight rental market, time for me to get situated at work, and the poor dog some time to run. The cat on the other hand suffered more than most, and had no qualms about telling you about how much she hated being locked in a single room during the day, and a kennel at night.
But, REALLY- my Mom's basement! I was sure I'd outgrown that in my 20's-Guess Not.
We have since moved into a surprisingly large rental house, compared to Florida standards, and definitely cheaper. 1400 sqft. trumps 950 sqft any day in my book, the more space the better. The dog has a fenced yard, the cat has large sun drenched windows and the run of the entire house,(she's much happier), and we have a nice back porch. We have spent the last couple of weekends furniture shopping since we sold all of ours before the move. A few thrift stores, and a couple garage sales later, and I have more furniture than I've had in years.
It's October now, and cold at night with frost sprinkles on the windshields in the morning, a far cry from 90 degree Florida, but I don't mind. Our grandbaby is a 45 minute drive away, and we have visited a few times already. I've already bid for a better job, and it looks promising. It was worth the trip.
A new job waiting for me, a moving truck parked in the front yard, and away we go, hopefully out a day earlier than expected so I have one more day before I start a new job.
My spare room is filled with sterilites packed tightly full, and secured with zip ties. Each one containing things that I can't seem to live without. But this time, I chose to leave behind some things that I just really didn't need- baggage you could say. I gave up on the huge dining room table I'd had for 15 years. I sold it in my original auction, my best friend bought it and gave it back to me.
It had provided years of support for suppers, many nights of coffee and scrabble, and evenings of homework for my daughter and myself as I returned to college after 20 years of being out of school. It served as a sewing table, an art project table, a construction table, and a center cooking island for years after I rescued it from a trash pile on someone's porch. But, it was time for it to go, and it did, in my most recent moving sale to a lovely older lady who was fascinated with it- it went to a good home, I am sure.
Many other things went too, a scabbed together saddle rack my Dad had made 50 years ago, a bit wobbly but still useable, I'd been toting it around for years. This time it went( I kept the saddle he bought me though). Miscellaneous chairs, side tables, and a plethora of lamps. Hundreds of journals with maybe a page torn out, and various books. Potted plants were carted off in pickups, and some just tossed in the nearest trash pile. Somebody out there will discover a grove of pineapples one of these days in the back field. This evening, mashing all the left over trash into bags, and setting it out by the road for pickup, and, 10 more containers exiled to the spare room for loading.
I have tried unsuccessfully to feel bad about getting rid of everything, but I just can't. While I loved the things I'd carried for so many years, my life has changed, I have changed. I hang onto less, and more, depending on what it is. I cherish different things now, my family, my friends, laughter, happiness. And, I have resigned not to let anything into my home except things I dearly love. Yes, I am excited to be going back, I've seen the world or a lot of it, and as they say there's no place like home.
Sometimes a move, ends up being a return. Many of us think that retiring, and moving somewhere new is what your supposed to do, so we up and do it, usually somewhere warm. But, there are often things that pull us back.
I find myself in that situation right now.
We sacrificed everything we worked for, for many years, to travel when we retired. We sold out, tossed our ditty bag in the truck and took off, we wound our way through state after state, ended up in Arkansas, and most recently in Florida. We had been here about a year when my daughter and her husband showed up with some very important news. We were becoming, *GASP* Grandparents! Suddenly things took on a whole new light. No longer were we free and easy, now there was a "little one" involved.
As she was born, grew, and came to visit us, we began talking about going back. Returning to our home state. After all who was going to buy her, her first BB gun, or teach her to fish, or give her her first pony ride. By gosh, it was gonna be us!
The end result is me looking intently for a new position of employment in Missouri, and packing things up in anticipation of loading our worldly belongings into a moving truck, and making the 18 hour drive to Missouri. To be honest, its daunting, having to repack everything we moved down here with, and get rid of things we don't really want or need, all over again- you know, the stuff we accumulate while we "live".
This time is different, we don't have an enclosed trailer that I can park in the front yard, and take 6 weeks to pack everything I want to keep. That's long gone, sold right after we moved in. Instead, I have a truck, rented from a local rental place, a couple of days to pack it, and we are outta here. Everything has to fit, everything important has to go, all at one time- like I said, daunting.
There's my hope chest, that goes to my daughter, that should have stayed in Missouri to begin with. There's the saddle my Dad bought me years ago, and his wooden desk chair, that had belonged to his father, and his before that. There's no way I could leave it behind. At least one mattress has to go so we have something to sleep on, I'd much rather take both. There's photos, and albums, and books, the computer, the TV, and it goes on and on. How much "stuff" can you fit in a 16 foot truck? I'm not sure, and I'm certainly not sure I can fit all of our "stuff" in it. But, by gosh I'm going to make it work, because there's a little girl in Missouri who needs to learn how to fish.