Image courtesy of me and a trip to Norway
Last May, I had a conversation with a now former colleague that I’ve known for many years. She put a bug in my ear about how much I would love a contract job, or just some needed time off. We talked about it for quite awhile, and she made me think of the excitement of possibility. I know that not having a job isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and it wasn’t something that I was sure about either, but as time went on, I became more emboldened and couldn’t get the idea out of my little head. I’m not alone, but I worked very hard for so many years, the thought of taking some time away really sounded like a dream. Some health issues with someone that I’m very close to also helped me see things very differently.
You are not going to get any employer bashing here. If you are reading this in your twenties or even early thirties, please take some very valuable advice from me, every job has it’s ups and downs, but you should never be open about the downs or reveal anything confidential about the ups in social media or the blogosphere. It’s not professional and it’s really not ethical unless you are a female Fox employee or work for United Airlines. For a very long time, I got to work with an amazing bunch of people, and for that, I will always be grateful. There just comes a time in your life when you need a massive change and this is my time. I need to find my next decade job, meaning that it will be long term in a company that I can grow with. I’ve reached a place where I need to be a student rather than a teacher. Learning is growing, and that can only come when you shake yourself out of your comfort zone.
In the last 6 weeks, I haven’t had a single moment of boredom. Granted, I’ve been busy helping with a sick family member, which has taken up quite a bit of time, but I also made a conscious decision to say yes to everything, even if I wasn’t sure about it and to do things to better myself. I’ve signed up for a digital marketing course to brush up on my skill set, agreed to volunteer for a marketing association and signed up for unlimited belly dance lessons and dance workshops so that I could get back to where I was eight years ago when I was part of a professional dance company. I agreed to give a talk on social media and blogging at a local college’s marketing class. I’ve met up with former colleagues and friends that I haven’t had the chance to spend anytime with over the past year. I’ve said yes to every invitation that has come my way – there really is no excuse now for me to say no. I’ve done some jobs around the house that I’ve been putting off – who really wants to clean venetian blinds slat by slat? I’ve done stupid things that people have suggested so if you need someone to do that Flight Simulator or Edgewalk with, I’m your girl. I’ve come up with theme days that I want to do once a week while I’m off that include but aren’t limited to:
- Gift Card Day – what better way to go on a shopping spree than to use up all of the gift cards that I haven’t touched! My Master Card has points for a department store gift card in Canada, so I’ll cash those points in too.
- Free Day – look up fun things to do that cost absolutely nothing.
- TV Day – a day to binge watch one show.
- Magazine Day – you guessed it – read a bunch of magazines, all in one day.
- Book Day – I signed up for a fifty book pledge this year, so I need to finish one book in a day.
- Decluttering Day(s)- do I really need to explain this?
- Kijiji Day – a day to photograph and post some of the things that I want to see if I can sell on Kijiji and other similar sites.
- Neighbourhood Day(s) – every week, pick a neighbourhood in my city, either on my own or with friends and fall in love with Toronto all over again.
- Culture Days – I’ll fall asleep if I go to multiple museums in one day, so I’ll spread this one out. I went to see Strictly Ballroom this weekend with my sister and some friends – I’m counting that. I’m going to see if I can convince someone to go to an art exhibit that’s in Toronto too.
- Movie Day – I’ve never been to a movie by myself before, and I think it will be a good experience. Once I’ve gone, I’ll come back and binge watch movies on Netflix or TMN.
- Bad Job Day – doing all the ugly jobs and tedious errands that I need to do.
- Spa Day – to recover from all of these brainiac ideas.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve felt more like myself than I have in a very long time. I’ve started paying attention to my surroundings because I no longer have to have my face buried in my cell phone while I’m walking so that I can get one more email off of my plate. I actually listen to the people that I’m with when I’m out instead of doing a mental to do list. I’ve talked to strangers, got to pat some cute dogs on the subway and don’t fret while waiting in line, because I know that my turn will come.
I know that soon, I’ll have a new job because that’s the way that life goes, but retirement practice has been fulfilling. People may not be in the same headspace about this as me, and I totally respect that, but if you find yourself unemployed, whether it’s your choice or not, try to make the most out of the time.