After the unhappiness binge that was 2012, I wanted 2013 to be better. Anyone who knows me would tell you that I’d not exactly one to sit around and do nothing if I feel something needs to be done. Oh, the pity party continued, but in my head while I did other things. I decided that I would ask my boss if I could go part time for one year. She was very cool about it, saying that she’d rather let me recharge than change jobs or go crazy at work.
It wasn’t an easy decision. The feeling that if I had this conversation with my boss, I would be seen as a failure was one I wrestled with for quite a while before I talked to her. Would she think I couldn’t handle the pressures of my job, would it limit me for future projects or promotions? Would she just think I was a wimp?
Luckily, she didn’t (openly) think any of those things. I still work five days a week, but I have two mornings off. One I spend on mundane, happy things: running, pottering around the house, reading and generally fighting back against stress. The other, I spend doing some academic and conference writing, hoping to get published based on my conference workshops later this year or early next year. Funnily enough, it seems I’ve had to take time off work to potentially advance my career…
I’ve taken what I’ve witnessed from other part time colleagues and come up with a plan that works for me. Apart from my two mornings, I use my time at work very carefully so I don’t end up doing extra work anyway- very common for part-timers in my profession. I’m super busy at work, but, apart from key busy times during the year (usually about 6), I should have little work to take home. I still stay at work after hours a few days a week, but I’d rather work at work than at home.
This of course meant accepting a pay decrease, which happened to coincide to moving to a new place where I now pay $45 more per week. Ben works part time, but his work doesn’t bring in much and can be sporadic. He’s also on a uni prac, which limits shifts.
So why accept less- less work, less money, fewer opportunities? To live more. I realised that working for tomorrow all the time- that potential job, that potential project- meant that I wasn’t in the moment. I wasn’t enjoying today. Today, with my lovely husband, my supportive friends, my beautiful city. I wanted more, so I settled for less. In fact, it isn’t settling, it’s having the best.
I see my city and my relationships in a new way- the natural and structural beauty, which is free to view, the simplicity of having friends round for a rustic meal rather than an impressive dinner party or expensive meal out, walks with Ben that don’t have to end in coffee.
I haven’t been happier.