Sunday, January 12, 2014

Death to the Job is Like...

Lately I've been doing a significant amount of thinking about death to my full-time job (as in stopping work, not this blog).  Not because I am really unhappy there.  Presently, I am in the middle of a LOT of activity, and I have volunteered myself for a few additional things as I can see in the long-haul how these decisions will help position me for being an essential member to the company I work for. However, since this is not always the feeling I have around my job, it has led me to think more often about the end of my full-time job.  

I like analogies.  So I will explain through one of those.  This analogy works for me in thinking about where I am now and where I am going to be in a few years with my job.  Today's analogy might not be popular with some of you out there due to personal experiences/situations - please know that my intention here is not to offend/hurt anyone with it.  

To me, death to the full-time job is like (a really good version of) cancer.  

For starters, it is believed that there are cancer cells in everyone's bodies, however some bodies create a more conducive environment for the cells to thrive, while others don't and so the cells remain dormant.  I agree - I think that everyone has some death-to-the-full-time-job cells in their bodies - the difference from cancer cells, obviously, is that some people TRY to help these cells flourish.  Like The Executioner (TE) and me.   

A few months ago work was really stressful.  I was feeling pressure, unappreciated, overworked, and not happy.  I went for a consult (a conversation with TE) who listened to my symptoms and made a diagnosis.  He broke the news to me gently, I am in the early stages of death-to-the-full-time-job.  At that point, the death-to-the-full-time-job was concentrated to a few select areas and might or might not spread throughout my body.  TE continued to talk to me about this.  Death-to-the-full-time-job could be removed from my body and I could be remedied of it.  On the other hand, he also pointed out that I don't have to work - I could give into death-to-the-full-time-job.  I wasn't ready to hear that news though - and so I denied, denied, denied.  I'm only in my early 30's - how could it strike me so soon?  No, I have to keep working so we can retire comfortably and early.  We need my income, we will perish without it.  Blah, blah, blah. 

As I sat with that diagnosis, and rethought about what TE said, I felt the death-to-the-full-time-job taking root throughout my body - it was spreading quickly and penetrating deeper.  I realized that although the news was surprising, it shouldn't be.  I mean, I always kind of knew this (hasn't it been our goal since death to the mortgage started?!?), but it wasn't something that I considered on a daily basis.  It always seemed like a future thing - not a now thing.  Hearing it from him made me face my reality though.  I have death-to-the-full-time-job and I don't have to work.  After contemplating this information for a few days I did what most people would do - I started working differently.  I decided I would let the death-to-the-full-time-job cells grow and I would encourage them to do so.  Since that initial consult, I have said no to 2 projects (first time in this job that I have said no to anything), I have delegated a lot more to others instead of doing it all myself, and I have focused on the work I like to do. 

I would say I am now at stage II or stage III of death-to-the-full-time-job.  I now accept the fact that the end of the full-time job is inevitable.  I know that it is in me everyday, I feel it like a dull ache.  Sure, work is not always my favorite past-time.  But, I am part of some interesting and inspiring projects and am looking forward to where they will take me.  I am enjoying it more often than not right now.  And so, I fight the death-to-the-full-time-job for right now.  I know this will not always be the case - there will come a time where I am not enjoying work anymore and am ready to stop fighting.   

I am living with death-to-the-full-time-job and,to the outside viewer, nothing looks different from Spicy Princess four months ago.  However, I know things are different.  I make decisions thinking about my death-to-the-full-time-job and the impact these decisions have on my future.  I selectively take on work tasks that provide me with skills I could use in alternative jobs and also highlight my value to the company.  That way, when death-to-the-full-time-job metastasizes and has control of all of my body (and mind), I feel prepared to succumb and work part-time somewhere.  And, the company feels I am so valuable that having me part of the time will be better than having no Spicy Princess at all - alleviating the stress of me trying to find a job somewhere.

For now, it is not a hard fight to stave off death-to-the-full-time-job.  However, there are still times that I like to daydream about the time when I will blissfully hand myself over to death-to-the-full-time-job.  

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Start to the End...

Happy 2014!  This year is going to be our year... I feel it.  It will be the year that starts our death to the full-time job.  Which is exciting.  

One of my 2014 goals is to write more on my blogs.  So, here I am.  Before I go too deep into this though I want to clarify a few things:
  1. I can't remember what font I write in to show that I am not The Executioner (TE).  Oh, and I don't find it important enough to be consistent by looking back at previous posts.  I am pretty sure my writing will quickly show anyone who is reading that I am not TE :)
  2. I am terrible at replying to comments.  It is my stretch goal.  I also give TE permission to reply on my behalf.  I'll try... that's the only promise I can make. If you post something and I don't reply - please don't take it personally.  I have most likely replied to you about 200 times through conversations in my head, but I haven't put them down here.  I don't know why... it is one of my faults.  I fully admit it.
Alright, now that I've stated those points, I'll start on my first blog entry for 2014.  

Since we paid off the mortgage in 2011 I've felt that I've been kind of lost.  Lost because I haven't had a clear target in my mind.  Prior to April 2011, the target was a huge bulls-eye with ZERO MORTGAGE written in the center, which every action could be measured against.  Walking through the grocery store and wanting to buy a sweet treat, I would stop because I would see that buying said item would take a couple of dollars away from ZERO MORTGAGE and I would realize said item was not worth it.  This worked in all areas - everything that was about to be purchased was measured against how high of a need was there.  If it wasn't high enough (and there was a pretty high threshold), the purchase was not made or was reduced in another way.

Post April 2011, our target has not been as measurable or concrete.  The goal has been "build our savings".  Well, walking through the grocery store and looking at said item sweet treat then became a rationalization game.  True, I won't be helping to save as much, but we'll still be saving because buying said item sweet treat won't cost nearly as much as going out to dinner.  You can see the game I was playing with everything.  And it all came to a head this past month.  I justified that I needed a new jacket, 2 pairs of boots, jeans, and a couple of other things.  You can imagine my horror as I look back at how out-of-control I was.  

Last year one of my 2013 goals was to look at anything that was about to be purchased and consider was it worth the life energy it cost and would I be able to use it many years down the line.  I greatly reduced the amount of work-related clothing, shoes, and accessories I buy.  I did this by realizing that I have a great wardrobe that fits me well for work.  I have enough that I don't need new things. I looked at many great sales on dresses in 2013 and thought 'this would be a great dress to own for work' and then thought where else I can wear that dress.  The majority of the time the answer was nowhere, which meant I admired how pretty the dress was and then left the site/store.  So far, none of the items I saw have been thought of again once I walk away.

I can't undo the new things I have bought recently.  And, truth be told, I am extremely happy with my purchases.  I will get a lot of use out of them right now as well as when I am no longer working full-time and am instead walking the trails around our little house in the big woods, working in the garden, or going out to do a chore in the wet spring or fall.  This little spending spree that I've been on has re-awakened my saving side.  I am ready to appreciate all that I have and not want more.  All that I need, I have.  

As I look at our net worth, I now have a target in mind - I am no longer lost.  I want to be a millionaire.  I want to be it as quickly as I can be, too.  So, that is my goal for right now.  Everything I consider buying will be weighed against this - will taking this money away from being that much closer to becoming a millionaire be worth it?  If the answer is no - how else can I achieve this same outcome?  Can I find an alternative, wait for it to go on sale, make a sacrifice somewhere else?  Or, can I wait a week and see if I still feel the same way of needing whatever it is? 

I am excited for what 2014 will bring.  It is starting off right - I am no longer lost.  And, I have the best (and most handsome) partner to help me if I start to lose my course.  

Spicy Princess