I have oodles of time on my hands at the moment, because I am without a job. Money is tight and were this any other time in my life I would be seriously freaking out and riddled with guilt about not earning. I'm not feeling that though. Instead I am choosing to enjoy my current state. I am not trying to be glib, I/we have been saving (for years) to give myself/ourselves a bit of a financial buffer zone for this change and we are being frugal. I have been preparing in a focused way for this move for about 18 months, but really the last decade has been about getting myself to right here, right now. Now I am finally here, I want to think and feel and live out of intention everyday, I want to embrace the opportunities here to re-invent and grow. So rather than setting myself a time to be different about things in the future or waiting to evolve into this newness of being or jumping back into old easy or established habits, I am working everyday to BE inner change, nurturing new ideas and exercising new pieces of myself. I am resisting the pull of overly self critical thinking and internal whisperings about how I should be going about things as a functioning adult in society.
Choosing to think differently about what employment in the future will look like means starting now. I have to be tough with myself about where I spend potential career option energy and focus. Previously in this position I would have been throwing myself at any and all jobs I saw advertised. I would apply, interview for and accept the first employment I could get my nervous hands on. This time, I am being selective and thinking about what I want, what aligns with my overall Life-aim (which is to choose the direction I want to go in and the work I want to do).
This sense of relaxing into unemployment hasn't come easily and in reality feels more like a kind of discipline or practice than you might imagine. Being unemployed won't last forever. Before I know it I will be working hard again - for the risk averse and security focused adult I am, the temporary nature of this state feels like an important context for now.
So much about the way I chose to exist previously was about guarding against insecurity. Grinding on, keeping on turning the hamster wheel. Keeping on earning because the idea of being without money, without security has been so abhorrent to me that I run from it, as fast as I can. Being secure is important, allows autonomy and comfortability. When in employment, money isn't a worry, I can buy what I like and save and be generous. Feeding my sense of security can be a demanding, time-engulfing task. It can mean feeling trapped all month for the sake of a routine amount of money appearing in my bank account. Quieting the thought that this isn't quite what I meant to do with my life with the answer: 'but it's money, isn't it'? Working my guts out for someone else, doing someone else's work under the impression that it will keep me safe from the wolf at the door, when all the while the wolf moves freely, wants something else of me and anyway, might turn up at the door in spite of the years of service given. Worst of all focusing only on security in the past has meant sliding into lazy familiarity in jobs I knew backwards that no longer offered healthy challenge, but feeling too tired and apathetic to do anything about it.
It has taken a few attempts to be here. I have out run joblessness and lack of security many times before, this has always meant running back into jobs I didn't entirely want and spending years not quite committing my whole self to them. I know job change anxiety very welI. I know that a big part of feeling insecure about not earning for me is my distaste for a lack of free spending power and saving power. Not being able to bury financial acorns every month makes me feel very unstable and down - if I let it. I also shrink from the idea that if I see something I like, I can’t just buy it. I am choosing to pause, to give myself a chance to go after a life I really want instead of allowing my need to constantly save and buy be at the root of all my life decision making.
Beyond enjoying being unemployed, I am retraining and reframing how I think of my employment status. I think of myself as self employed. A freelance Artist, Coach and Teacher. I am building the skeleton of my business, developing resources and ideas and studying. I am getting up every day and thinking about who I am as a freelance Artist/Coach/Teacher. I am working my new inner state into an external reality and thinking about how, when spring comes, I can have all the seeds of ideas ready to germinate and ultimately flower.
- How are you feeling about your work? Is there something inside you telling you that you would love something more/different?
- Is there something you could change about your relationship with work to align it more with your personal values?
- If ANYTHING was possible, what could you do, right now, to change your working life?