Six months ago, I started a new job.
I guess every job change is a landmark in our lives, to varying degrees. Often, I think, we make job changes because we hope it will bring some combination of more money, better benefits, and/or move us along a career development track. Sometimes, it is a realignment of what we are hoping for in work-life balance.
Six months ago, I made a radical change. I needed to work, like so many of us–I needed the income. Other than that, my criteria were location, short commute, and limited-to-no requirements on my thoughts or energy outside of a basically 40-hour work week. I was taking a step back from all-consuming professional focus. Those were basically my requirements. Anything else was icing on the cake. I would not say I was part of the Great Talent Reshuffle because my reasons were intensely personal–but probably everyone’s were and are. So, maybe I am a part of that phenomenon.
My priorities for this job were drastically different than for previous jobs/focuses:
- I wanted to spend more spontaneous time with my family.
- I wanted to prioritize some of my personal goals and interests.
- I did have professional goals but I saw the job change as a way to support myself while working on my true professional goals during my own time in the evenings, weekends, and perhaps lunch breaks.
When I realized I was six months into this huge change, I thought it would be a good opportunity to take stock and reevaluate.
This first Spontaneous Family-Time Goal is working out well. The Personal Interests Goal is having mixed success. Definitely some really good things happening, but not as much as I would like.
The frustration lies in the Personal-Time Professional Interests Goal. Even with the 40-hour work week and the short commute–damn, I’m tired.
Part of it is that I am a night person but I force myself to try to function as an ultra early morning person because I live in a hot and humid area of the country and, if I am going to do any outdoor physical training in the summer, it has to be in the early early morning. So, not only am I often sleep deprived, but it is cumulative as the week progresses. There are many times I get home from work with great plans but I grab some dinner and then pass out asleep for a bit in the recliner instead.
Part of it is that my job is both sedentary and mental work. No matter how much I want to, the last thing I want to do at lunch or as soon as I get home from work is sit and study. My mind is tapped out for awhile.
Weekends: My house increases in chaotic disarray throughout the week and some housework must be done on the weekends. And sleep. Unless there is a need, I don’t set alarms on Saturday and Sunday.
So, my goals for the next six months are to
- Maintain the little progress I have made in spending time on my personal interests and hopefully increase that some.
- Increase cardio stamina.
- Increase frequency of foreign language practice.
- Experiment with sourdough baking.
- Get more of my house in order (I am still not completely sorted from the move).
- The basement.
- In front of the filing cabinet (so it will be easier to use the filing cabinet!).
- Figure out how to have the energy, focus, and motivation to pursue my personal professional interests.
- Continue to brainstorm on this.
- Keep trying to adjust my sleep patterns, I guess?
- Keep trying to have errands to run or go to the gym immediately after work (I prefer outside rather than gym, but something has to give)? I am thinking in this direction for mindless and active tasks so that perhaps later in the evening it is easier for me to want to sit and study. Who knows if I can make it work that way.
I would love to not work 40 hours a week, but wouldn’t we all? I’m not giving up on the idea of working fewer hours, just not going to drive myself crazy about it either. I am so grateful for this current position because it meets so many of my needs that that gratitude is a factor in what concessions I make in life, for better or worse . . .
How about you?
Were you part of the Great Talent Reshuffle? Did it work out the way that you hoped? Is it truly a better situation for you, at least in some respects?
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This Past Week In
I was in the middle of the intense search for a new job.
- I attended a funeral of a dear friend’s spouse who died from COVID.
- George Floyd was murdered and our town, with the nation, reacted.
- The town I was living in locked down in a curfew because the police heard threats that “people” were going to arrive and attack our homes. It was surreal the way my neighborhood closed up like Main Street in a Western movie anticipating a shootout–surreal and intensely sad.