A long-held desire is about to come to fruition. And no, there’s no wild fling with Richard Armitage on the cards (well, not that I’m aware of yet anyway… but I refuse to give up hope!).
Rather, I’m about to become a more balanced person… in a work/life kind of way, that is.
Like every other working person on the face of the earth, I’ve long dreamed of cutting back my work hours (not to mention the ‘not having to work at all’ dream).
And on many an occasion I’ve sat there with my trusty calculator, doing the sums and trying to work out if I can still pay my mortgage and live in the lifestyle that I’m pretty-much accustomed to, AND work less hours.
Sadly the answer is usually no…
In addition, I’ve never done anything about it as I’ve always been in jobs where I’ve been relied on to be ‘there’; in the office, five days a week.
However, I’ve recently changed roles (albeit, temporarily for one year) – giving me the opportunity to alter my working arrangements. And the timing is perfect as, at the beginning of this year, I set some goals for myself and one of those was to find things I enjoy doing… and bloody well do them. (I mean, life’s supposed to be FUN at some point, isn’t it?!)
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t work 20hr days or anything… but I’m the sort of person who’s all about their work. And this is exacerbated by the lack of other priorities at home (partner, kids etc) to take my focus away from it.
So after some soul searching over these past few months and the alignment of the stars and planets (and similar), I decided to approach my workplace to negotiate a 4-day/week trial. And… to my relief, my proposal was accepted.
I’m now starting to tell people and this is where it’s getting interesting. It seems that cutting back one’s hours when one is still on the right side of middle-age adulthood seems to be rarely done – unless you have children to look after, or study commitments.
I have neither of those excuses.
In fact, I suspect if I’m really honest (and – it is YOUR good fortune that I mostly am in my blogs), one of the reasons I’ve never contemplated cutting back before was that I didn’t want to send the message that I wasn’t fully committed to my work or to furthering my career. And – frankly – this remains the only stumbling block with which I am faced.
However, the deed is done. Request submitted and granted.
And… although I am unbelievably excited about 4-day weeks and HOPEFULLY more time for blogging and writing (so I’m not up at the crack of dawn or after midnight); the concept of losing 20% of my salary is very scary. And… it’s gonna call for some belt-tightening.
If I was a more responsible person I’d have been ferreting away the soon-to-be-missing-20% over the past few months, to check I can live on the rest of my income. However, as you may recall, instead – I’ve bought a new car; AND have spent quite a bit of money updating and redesigning my websites. (As you do if you’re me and/or more irresponsible with money than you should be!)
So, I need to focus on other ways to tighten my financial belt.
Being the princess I am however, everything I come up with does not seem even remotely feasible.
Firstly there’s my fortnightly cleaner. Now one could argue that one person could clean up after themselves. This is true, and I do… however getting rid of my 2hr/fortnight cleaner would not do anything for my work/life balance (not to mention stress levels) given my disdain for cleaning floors and bathrooms.
And then there’s my $255 hair cut and colour every 4-6 weeks. Although I could eke that out to 6-7 weeks (avoiding mirrors during the additional time), reducing that expense further doesn’t appear to be on the cards…UNLESS I can find a cheaper option which won’t end in tears.
I don’t skimp on my groceries – as a single gal – buy decent meat and the like, though perhaps I could eat more mince *cringe* (though only the 5-star stuff for health reasons. Obviously!). Less or no bottles of wine throughout the working week would also help, though my working week will be shorter *phew*.
I start my 4-day working week in April. So I still have a couple of weeks to look at ways of cutting costs. In the meantime, I’d welcome any suggestions.