For a long time, I’ve said that any job you can do from home is worth twice what you get paid to do it. Let me explain.
Get out a pen & paper and total this up: How much do you spend on gas, car payments, car insurance, car maintenance, work wardrobe, eating out, etc. Never mind the cost of coming home completely exhausted and making terrible dinner choices (both for health and budget) or being too exhausted to do anything but collapse on the couch and numb out.
The last time I worked full-time “on location”, my net take-home pay was $200. Let me say that again. I worked 60 hours a week, every week, for $200 a month profit.
And I was the primary breadwinner at that time. At first, I felt trapped because “I was making so much”. And trust me, we NEEDED that $200 to pay other (non-job related) bills. But once we factored in the cost of looking professional, child care (that one really gets ya), transportation and X, we just couldn’t justify it. That’s not a typo. X is a real thing.
X is the result of honestly looking at what this job is costing you. What money-saving things I could I do with my time and energy if I wasn’t working 60 hours a week at a job I enjoyed but which sucked everything I had. I could cook meals I like. I could sleep past 6 am. Budget. Talk to my spouse…ever. Fix things when they break. Look for deals when I need to…it just wasn’t worth working full-time for me.
I’m not the first so say this. People have said it for years. But I’m saying something different. Have you stepped back and really considered the cost of your job? What if you didn’t have those costs? THEN how much would you need to get by?
Hold on. Some of you know that I actually quit my job in 2011 because we were moving to another continent after my husband had a killer job opportunity. True. But why do you think we were even on the lookout for that job? Because we were working our butts off to be exhausted and getting no place.
So now, here we are: eight years later. Debt free except the house for the 2nd time. I work from home. My husband is a teacher. And I work part-time from home. And I love it. Sure, I miss having an excuse to buy new clothes, and we say no to a lot of things. But it’s worth it.
Quitting my job was the gateway to the life we have chosen: slower and smaller in some ways. Bigger and fuller in others. We have loads more family time. Smaller budgets mean we are required to seek out the simpler things like hiking, camping, and playing in the street. Our kids get really bored, which is so good for them. My eight year old just discovered Minecraft (sigh).
We have more choices because of less commitment. Both of my jobs are flexible, that’s the beauty. I can load up one day, as needed. Or stay in with a sick kid (or husband) instead of using up vacation days. I love being able to help out friends and neighbors when possible.
But we aren’t perfect. Even now, I look at our life, and feel it is too much. “The next house should be smaller.”
That’s the nature of life on earth, though, isn’t it? We learn and adjust as we go. No one tells you that. I expected to arrive at 40 and have it all figured out. All the wisdom. All the ways. All the tricks. All the do’s and don’ts. Nope. Not even close.
Oh, and I have unlimited vacation days. Or none. Depending on how you look at it.
What about you? What would you do different?
Footnote: I’m adding this because I know people will ask, “What are your jobs?”
*Because of all these choices, I have the luxury of picking up seasonal work only when we need it. Mine is substitute teaching. This is an excellent flex job when you need it. Just be sure to figure out your niche and how to do it without loosing your sanity, and stick to that place.