Just before the weekend, I quit my job without a concrete plan of what I’m going to do. I still have my notice period to work, and it’s not yet been announced, but after that, I am reliant on my savings until I find another source of income. This is a strangely liberating feeling for someone as analytical as me. I haven’t been without a plan or a job since I finished university.
I am now in my mid-thirties, I’m at the early end of the millennial-scale and that may have something to do with my lack of contentment with what my family would call a standard lifestyle. So I’m now looking for a lifestyle choice to support myself. I’m intelligent, well educated, and work hard. So how am I going to go about it?
I’m sure your first question is but why Rat Race Escapee? Why would you quit your job with nothing lined up? I’ll admit, that is a question that I’ve spent a lot of time musing. Its a really scary idea – I do have a 3 month notice period while I’ll still be getting paid to figure it out, but three months isn’t very long when you’re looking at the big picture!
In my current role I’d gotten to the stage where because I always went above and beyond to deliver what was wanted, I was burning myself to satisfy other people’s expectations. While there is nothing wrong with delivering (and it makes me happy to do it), has always delivered meant the expectations kept increasing.
Having had an idea that I’d like to work for myself germinating for a while, when I found myself so stressed out that I couldn’t eat (I’m a stress eater – this one is new) and couldn’t stop crying and found myself sitting on the office floor after everyone else had left at night feeling like I was going to puke with the thought of leaving or coming back in the morning, I decided enough was enough. Strangely enough, a few days on, I’m still feeling ill with the thought of going to work, or leaving work to come home.
Reading this back, it sounds like the people I work for are horrid and unfeeling – and nothing could be further from the truth. There are two sides to every story, as we all know, and while they should have noticed sooner that I was trying to tell them this was not sustainable, I also should have tried harder to make them understand what I was going through.
How am I going to achieve this you ask? Well, that’s what we’re here to figure out! At work I am a very analytical person, everything is considered with respect to the numbers and what they mean. At home I’m less so, I will use the numbers, but I will also rely on my gut, experience, and other people’s opinions a lot more than at work – so treating my home life like work should be interesting for me! Hopefully, it’ll also be a bit fewer numbers based to make for better reading for you!
The main elements which I currently believe are going to support the “How” of my lifestyle change:
- I have a savings buffer which means with no lifestyle changes at all and 0 income I can cover my normal outgoings for 5 months.
- I have a large personal network of people who want to see me succeed. In my experience, the majority of people you know would love to see you succeed at something that you try, particularly if its a brave choice and you’re a nice human being (by nice I mean, generally doesn’t kick animals unless they’re biting you, has a bit of personality and doesn’t go out of their way to be mean or horrid to others)
- I’m not afraid of hard work, in addition to the above I am a seamstress, have worked as a groom, a bartender and I’m not afraid of hard physical labour.
- I have a broad skill set, a well-respected education, and a number of former managers and peers who will sing my praises. I also have spent the majority of my career working in areas that will translate well to short term contracts. Areas such as:
- Business Analysis across both technical and financial streams
- Business Intelligence
- Project Costing
- Systems Thinking
Where to from here?
Having no income after my notice period is extremely scary! So I need to spend the next week or so working through my options and creating a plan, which is great news for you because as part of my research and evaluation of my next steps I’m going to be sharing my process and tools.
I laid out my full employee to entrepreneur planning in the ultimate guide to escaping the 9 to 5.
A high-level view of my current thinking is:
Money is going to be key
I need to develop a deeper understanding of my relationship with money, especially as there will be no guarantee of a steady amount trickling into my bank account on a monthly basis going forward!
- How do I manage my expenditure so that I am satisfied with my lifestyle, can meet my financial obligations, and grow whatever lifestyle type business or businesses that I come up with to support it and replenish the pot! Things to be considered:
- short term: I really enjoy nice food and wine or beer
- medium-term: My family is in Canada and it’s nice to visit them
- long term: My mortgage has 4 years left on a fixed-term deal
- What about monetising elements of my life that can assist with generating income? Can I do this without pissing off the world? What about the sales element of this – I’ll need to stretch myself as having worked as a door to door salesperson (my least favourite job ever), I find it uncomfortable!
- I need to understand how money and happiness are related to me.
- What about retirement and other benefits? My current job has a very generous pension, sick pay and paid holiday
- How do I understand my financial risks?
What is my Ideal Employment Solution?
The fun definition stage! Or an answer to the scary question I’ve been trying to avoid for the past 15 years – “What do I want to be when I grow up?”
- What does it look like?
Where is it located? Can I really make money as a digital nomad?
Pandemic update (March 2021) – I’ve started a remote consultancy helping manufacturers increase their profits through embedding Confident Costing processes, but I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up!
- Do I need to prioritise retraining? I’m partway through a personal training course but I’ve not been doing a lot of work on it, should it be the first thing I do?
- How do I create balance so that I don’t burn myself out?
So many things to think about!
However, due to my systems background and change management experience, I’m going to employ some business models to assist me in breaking my planning all down into manageable chunks – after all, if you need to eat an elephant you go about it one bite at a time!
Wish me luck! Over the next period, I will be publishing my thoughts on this whole process as well as the models, techniques, and other resources that I am finding helpful throughout this journey. I feel like all of my choices to date have prepared me for this step, so onward!
I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments, encouragement, criticisms, and questions! Please use the comments section to engage, tell me I’m crazy, make suggestions, or make queries!