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.