This is a picture of me last Friday which was my last day of work. I quit my job!
You might have some questions. Like "Why??" And "What will you do now?" Or the question I always wonder when people quit jobs, "How are you affording this?" These are all reasonable questions and I'm happy to share a bit more...
Why I quit my job
For the past six years I've been working full time as a science writer for Arizona State University. I wrote articles (like this and this), reports, and helped create related content (like these – and you might recognize this guy!) telling the story and impact of research at ASU. It was a job that I really enjoyed. I met brilliant and passionate experts and had supportive, kind, and creative colleagues. I've quit two jobs prior to this one where I was so unhappy. That wasn't the situation here.
Instead, I felt a shift over time of what fulfilled me. As I wrote on my blog and then started one podcast and then another my creative side projects started to bring me more energy. I couldn't stop thinking of things to write about or to chat about on a podcast. I also connected with so many other women who were creating and making their own path.
I found value in the content I was producing and felt encouraged that my words resonated with and encouraged others. I started to get a sense that I would love to spend more time producing my own content, maybe even writing books – a little dream that I started to feel I could bring in to the light and encourage to grow.
As my creative endeavors began to occupy more of my evening and weekend time, and more of my thoughts, I found my work work a little less fulfilling. The long commute, being away from the house for so long every day, and the morning and evening hustle started to wear on me little by little.
Concurrently with these changes was Dashiell getting older and closer to kindergarten. Chris and I have had an ongoing conversation about a desire to design our life so that one of us (probably me since Chris earns more money and has a very secure job) could be home to pick up the boys from school when they start kindergarten.
For a few years we've had a financial plan of saving aggressively. We thought that this would be the best way to give ourselves different options when it came to my work situation. Last summer, Chris was appointed to a leadership position and began earning about the same amount of money as we were making combined the year before. With that significant change in our finances we felt comfortable making plans for me to quit my job sometime this year.
What I'll be doing now
I'm so excited for this next chapter. Chris and I try to live our values and this big change is an expression of that in a very big way. The things that fill me up the most, that feel as essential as breathing to me, are my family and writing. Quitting my job is shaking up the architecture of our life so that I have much more time for both.
This summer we have part-time childcare and I'm looking forward to taking a mini sabbatical of sorts. There will be a lot of deep breaths and not a lot of rushing to do things. I'm going to tackle the home organization projects that have been on my to-do list forever. Yoga will be a weekly habit. I'm thinking about taking a painting class, just to learn something new and stretch creatively. I'll also spend some weekdays with the boys – the first time I've done significant all-day solo parenting! I'm a little bit nervous but mostly excited for big chunks of time to play and be at their pace, trips to the pool and splash pads, play dates, and library trips.
When the school year starts in early August, Dash will be going to kindergarten (how??) and Cedric will go to preschool at the same school. We are walking/biking distance from our neighborhood school and I'm so thrilled that being in the car will not have to be part of our daily life. Cedric will have two full school days of preschool so I'll have those days to write, podcast, and create. On the other three weekdays I'll have my Cedric at home with me. Although I'm sure I'll have hard days I think it will be so fun. Cedric is so easy-going and goofy that I think he'll be a great sidekick.
As far as what I'll be creating – I have so many ideas. I think I'd like to write a nonfiction book proposal to learn about that process. I have ideas for e-courses and paid podcast content. Maybe a budgeting for couples book with Chris. Erica and I would love to write a book together. And my cherished dream is to write a fiction book manuscript and have it published, whether through traditional routes or self-publishing. And along the way I'm excited to see what opportunities arise. Because it does seem that the more you create the more ideas you have and you never know who you'll cross paths with and what you might create together.
How we are affording this
Although Chris has always made more money than me my $58,000 salary was a significant contribution to our household income. After this Friday I won't be getting any more regular paychecks – eep! To take this big leap we did a lot of planning, a lot of simplifying, and a lot of saving.
About four years ago we embarked on a radical transformation of our finances and perhaps even our approach to life. In some ways my favorite blog post of all time, Our ideal life, kicked it off. We realized that we could be more intentional in our life, from how we spend and save to how we maintain our home environment. We simplified in little ways, like cutting cable and eventually ditching our television, and big ways, like becoming a one car family. This translated to a decreased cost of living and more savings. It also encouraged us to look for other "must-haves" that might be sucking up time and money unnecessarily. All of these changes, combined with a healthy savings account, and Chris's recent raise, made it comfortable for us to decide to be a one income family.
I also want to acknowledge that a big part of how we are affording this is that we are incredibly privileged. We planned, simplified, and saved – yes. But we can do those things because of having benefited from privileged lives. I recognize the privilege that comes with choosing to work or to quit a job and that many are not able to do that.
I hope that helps explain a bit more about this big change. The new episode of The Girl Next Door Podcast is all about big job changes and I'm chatting in detail about my new chapter.
I plan to be back to writing here more frequently here. Picture me dusting away the cobwebs in this space and throwing the windows open to let the sunshine in. Ahhhh! That's better! Thank you so much for reading and for your support these years. Creating this blog and podcasts and connecting with readers and listeners has been a significant encouragement to me that helped me make this big leap. Thank you.