So, I’ve done it. The first step in dismantling my perfect (or what I thought was perfect) professional life. I resigned from my well paying, minimal commute job.
While it may seem like a sudden decision, this moment has been a year in the making. I started my business, Sincere Copy this time last year, determined to make a go at using my marketing expertise to create an income. Although jobs ebb and flow throughout the year, it has proven quickly that there is a need in the market for what I, and Sincere Copy, have to offer. I started pouring every free moment I have outside of work and mothering into Sincere Copy: setting up processes, create my own content, accounting, client work etc. Soon enough, the relentless 16-hour days caught up. Meanwhile, work at my job stalled. The days were slow and I was tasked with some menial projects. I would finish up the tasks on hand and stared wistfully into the sun, thinking about the work I could do on Sincere Copy, if I wasn’t “on the clock”.
Thoughts like this grow like wild weed in Spring. In August, my son was having trouble adjusting with the increasingly huge kinder rooms and lack of teaching staff. It was never going to be easy for any early education teacher to wrangle a group of 11 to 15 children at a time, especially in the afternoons when fewer staff were rostered on. My son started wetting and soiling his pants again, and his pants would remain wet for hours on end until I picked him up from kinder. There were tantrums and outbursts from him.
I felt dejected and angry. I blame the immature policy to introduce free 3-year-old kindergarten in a bid to push women back to work, yet without considering the need for more early childhood educators. I question the push for women back to work, to separate us from our children at an age where they need us more than ever as they transition from the cocoon of babyhood into their preschool years. There has to be a better way.
As those thoughts fermented in my brain, I started sleeping less, waking up at 5am…4am…3am… I would wake and work, get my son ready for kinder, clock my eight-hour shift at my desk job, listening to my colleague talking about interest rate, the war, pick up my son, make dinner, put him to sleep, and continue working for another two or three hours at night.
I cracked in September. Not in a mental breakdown way. My physical body cracked. My PCOS flared up, my eating habits are terrible and I’m dealing with a particularly nasty and painful bout of acne on my face, body and scalp. Mentally, I was hanging on by a thread. I yearn for freedom, for lightness, for joy. I saw an astrologer and a psychologist the same day, both offering the same advice to me:
What is a year’s break in 40 years’ of working life?
So I started putting the plans in motion. I met up with my son’s piano teacher three weeks ago, who offered me a casual piano tutor position, teaching primary school-aged kids. While the monthly pay is less than what I make weekly now, I agreed to try it out. What surprised me was how light and joyful I felt after a lesson! Perhaps it’s an influx of dopamine from having to make the classes fun. But it was simple.
A few hours after I came home to tell my husband about my career change (we already had the talk about finance etc. when I thought about my leaving my job), I got an enquiry to develop a website. They wanted to move quickly with the project, so I had to schedule my call with them the next day, which falls on my work day. When the time came, I excused myself and took the call in my car. 45 minutes later, I emerged from the stuffy vehicle cabin and my lungs rejoiced as I breathed in the fresh air. Freedom.
I booked the client at my current monthly pay. I’ve been meaning to take a break over Christmas and January, which means I’m well set financially for the next three months. This gives me the opportunity to burrow underground to do the things I had wanted to do but never got around to: creating an online course, writing my e-book, and more writing. Like this. It means I get to enjoy the sunshine with my son, without the shadow of my to-do list hanging over me. It means my son is in care and kinder one less day, and I get to enjoy more precious pre-school moment. It means I get to work in the sunshine, in bed, or not at all if I’m feeling unwell and tapped out.
I’m uncertain about what lies ahead, but I’m certain I don’t do well in stagnant environment. My plan is imperfect, but I’m happy I took some imperfection actions.
Image source: kaboompics