Today is my last official Furlough day and what started as an exercise to save some money, make the most of my time and earn more to make up for lost wages was a quite successful project.
I began this project (unwillingly) in February when my full-time employer redefined “full-time” as “32 hours a week” since I was simply too efficient with my time. What was an infuriating change has probably been the best thing to happen to me this year.
This change took me from the view that things were happening “to me” to a place of accepting responsibility and control.
I started out with the most immediate ways I could make up that lost income: saving money. I changed my car insurance and trash service, then cut back on running my air conditioner and ate from home more often.
I wasn’t really feeling deprived but I can’t cut back further in a lot of areas. Besides, it’s just not that rewarding to exclaim “I worked in the dark scratching out my 47 page budget on used envelopes while sleeping on a blanket made from fuzz out of the dryer lint trap! Yay!”
No thank you.
So after my burst of savings, inspired by Ramit’s I Will Teach You to be Rich Book, I moved into a new area: earning more.
But first, I went on vacation. I talked to a lot of people before going and one of them really explained well that there is never a “perfect” time. Fewer hours may mean less income but if I had the money saved (I did) and a good Emergency Fund (I do) then I should go enjoy myself. And I did.
Throughout that time I was taking Ramit’s Earn 1K course and learni how I could turn skills into cold, hard, cash. But not be paid pennies.
I made all the mistakes, even the ones they warned me about. I’m nothing if not stubborn! But I stuck with the program and began working on the right path. Free work in a field where I can bring value. Using referrals to secure a paying client. Doing great work and getting more responsibilities. And now going full time.
Because tomorrow is my last day at the full time desk job (and I’m working from home today) it’s my last official furlough day.
Today I wanted to write about perspectives after my break from work on Monday when I went for a drive. I was walking around taking pictures at my favorite chapel and loving the mild weather, the huge trees, running away from the sprinklers…
In photography, teachers are fond of saying “the shot may be behind you” as a reminder to take in your surroundings. I was walking around, thinking I was good when something caught my eye. Something fluttering on the ground.
Still couldn’t see this elusive little blue bug.
It would have been easy to get up, walk away and squash other bugs in the process. But I knew I had the right perspective. Now I needed patience.
I’m not great at patience.
It wasn’t just sitting there, getting my jeans wet and looking like a fool. I was ready. The camera was focused and raised, I was scanning the grass and making adjustments to the camera settings.
I spent a little more of my time outside lying in the grass, relaxing, looking around me for things I might be missing. I highly recommend it.