When I set out on this journey to leave my full-time office job life behind, I knew it would be hard to stick to my guns.
When I told my walking buddies that I’d made a major decision about the trajectory of my life and that in six months I would leave full-time work, I also told them “So when I change my mind, remind me of this conversation”.
It seemed highly unlikely at the time that I would change my mind – such was the clarity I felt about this decision.
Lo and behold, within a couple of weeks, I was enjoying myself a lot more at work and while I was still keen to make the transition away from full-time work, I could see the cracks starting to show.
Evidence of cracks:
- I said to one of my walking buddies, “I need to write a post called, How to Leave Your Job When You Like Your Job“.
- Ideas started circulating in my head about boundaries. About the necessity of not feeling owned and controlled by your work. The importance of being able to go home and have a life outside the office that you love. I am truly hopeless at setting these kinds of boundaries – usually to the detriment of my career. I’m pretty sure it was my lack of boundaries that had me calling my mum from under my desk one particularly horrible work day a few years ago. (NB. This is evidence because it shows I’m thinking about ‘how to make the workplace better’ instead of ‘how to escape the workplace’).
- I started writing posts like this one about reuniting my fragmented being.
Then, the book happened. I was in a discount book shop with the very same mother who received the call from under my desk. I picked up a copy of Nora Ephron’s I Remember Nothing, but I didn’t feel like buying anything else. I had reached the point that I reach very rarely in my life – I didn’t feel like buying any more books.
My mum picked up a book about happiness and mentioned that it had been a while since she’d read something like this and it might be fun to dip into. I mentioned that all I ever read was books like that and my brain felt read to explode with helpful information for a fulfilling life in which one’s potential is reached.
We went to the counter to buy my mum’s stack of books and my single book. Then I saw, displayed on the counter, The Artist in the Office.
It’s short, simple, nothing in this book totally blew my mind (i.e. the ideas were commonsense). It cost me five bucks.
And yet, it changed EVERYTHING.
The author, Summer Pierre, perfectly articulated the desire to leave the office and get on with the good stuff – and then perfectly articulated all the great stuff about having a job and still getting on with the good stuff.
This is the back and forth I have with my walking buddy who is also a writer who also goes to work full-time. We know work is good in so many ways.
* Don’t have to stress about where the money is coming from (especially good for people who hate thinking about money).
* Have a regular routine that keeps you on the straight and narrow.
* Keeps you connected to the humans – no fear of becoming isolated and out of touch with the world.
The best solution we came up with was the part-time solution – i.e. what this blog is supposed to be about. I don’t want to completely disconnect from formal work, but I don’t want my office job to be my whole life.
Summer Pierre agrees that my office job doesn’t have to be my whole life! But she shows a way the regular job part of the artist’s deal – something to work with instead of something to work against.
Here’s the weird bit – I’ve never, ever, not once in my whole life, every thought of myself as an artist. And yet, this might just be the exact framework I need to reunite my fragmented being.
So thank you very much Summer Pierre, your short book might have just derailed this entire blog.