Friday, July 13, 2012

Underemployed and Happy

Six months ago, I quit my job. You know, the demanding, high-stress, well-paying type of job. The "professional career" requiring extensive travel, a Blackberry, and a whole lotta responsibility.

Do I miss it? Yes and no. I definitely miss the daily social interaction and all of the wonderful, talented, and fun people who I worked with. It's also nice to make enough income that you can live comfortably and have plenty left over to save.

But, at the same time, it makes me sad to reflect on how much of my time and energy was devoted to work. When you add up all of the hours spent commuting, getting ready for work in the morning, going on business trips, and attending after-hours conference calls with overseas colleagues, you start to realize that it's much more than just the hours you spend at your desk. It just doesn't seem right to only get 2 days off per week (which inevitably must contain personal chores, not just leisure time) and just 3 weeks of vacation (if I had to take my BlackBerry with me was it really a vacation?)

More than anything, I disliked not having control over my own time. Now, I have the freedom to have a picnic in the park at 2pm on a Tuesday if that's what I want to do. While my current work requires daily attention, I can complete it at whatever time I want to, as long as it gets done. I can't describe how good it feels to set my own daily schedule.

These past six months have flown by, as I've chosen to use my time to travel, reconnect with friends and family, revisit old hobbies, and learn some new ones. How much of this would I have done if I were still working my professional job? Oh, maybe 3-4 days worth, if I'm being generous.

I don't have everything figured out, but that's ok. We don't know where we'll be living in 2013, but I'm already dreaming of the possibilities. We're only making a fraction of our prior earnings, but it's enough to stay afloat without dipping into our savings. We have a lot less stuff, but it's helped us realize how little we need. Life is pretty good, and I wouldn't change my decision for the world.