At around two months out I can feel myself changing but I also feel the tug of old habits. I am still actively looking for jobs but I am fantasizing more and more about never returning to work. The possibility that I can do something entirely different seems more real than it did a few months ago. I am making use of myself around the house and saving my family a little money doing work we would otherwise have to pay someone to do. My  next challenge is to take over all of our finances and investing to save the fees we pay our financial advisor. Together I will save several thousands of dollars this year, maybe tens of thousands, which essentially offsets what I am not earning.

And, remember, even at my best I made around $50k a year. In a 40% tax bracket that means I was bringing home somewhere around $30k. If I can generate new revenues or reduce our spending I can probably come up with $30k. This is slowly becoming my new mantra.

But I am still checking and applying for jobs. I have three open applications currently and found out I did not get three jobs last week. What’s different is I can no longer trick myself into believing I would like any of these jobs. Or at least I am more skeptical. But I am still obsessed with checking and there are (increasingly shorter) moments where I think “This is the job that is going to save me!”. It’s so weird to be so attached to checking for jobs. I do the same thing with email. I used to do it with online dating. It’s like I need some external thing to validate my existence or stroke my ego. Somehow I still believe, a little, that a job is going to fall into my lap and save me.

I want badly to make this transition but instead I find myself in the limbo-like state of transitionING into something different. Maybe change isn’t black and white and one day I will realize I have been a darker grey for a long time, but that I am no longer white. Change is hard. Old habits bully the new ones, often times in to submission.

I’d like to get to a place where I don’t have the urge to check my email in hopes that something will change my life. In the same way I don’t want to be looking for a job to change my situation. I see a future where I don’t watch the job ads but I have been doing so for going on 20 years. I often think about getting rid of my smart phone so I can’t check my email so easily. And I even remove the email apps from time to time to try to break the habit. I have stopped using Facebook and other social medias for the same reason. Email and job sites are the final frontier, lol.

I still don’t fully understand what all that’s about, but I’m trying to get passed it and to esteem myself from within. I am trying to use kinder words in my head, stop ruminating when I catch myself, and to stop beating myself up when I don’t live up to my unrealistic expectations of myself.  Eventually I would like to be ok not working at all and contributing in other ways. Truthfully, I think that’s the only way I’m going to be able to reach all of my goals and maintain a healthy lifestyle and attitude.

I have an excellent work ethic, I just A) haven’t liked the type of job I can get in my current location, B) have not been satisfied once I deviated from my professional path, C) was very content and could manage my current lifestyle when I was a professor, D) that ship has sailed.

If I could find a job that allowed me a flexible schedule, challenged my brain, rewarded me for being creative and efficient, and did not make me ride the clock if my work was finished I think I could be content. Otherwise, the man is a goddamned idiot and I can’t work for him without being frustrated and disgruntled by what I view as gross oversights, mistakes, and reduced professionalism. And the man typically operates under the guise of ‘that’s how it’s done’ or ‘those are the rules’. Well fuck that.

And that system seems to dominate the job market here. I would even say that the concept of a PhD is lost on most people. To me, the PhD doesn’t mean a whole lot, but it does mean a few things: 1) a person can perform excellent work unsupervised, on their own terms, and faster than you would expect, 2) a person has earned the freedom and respect to be permitted and even encouraged to follow their own lead. Employers don’t get this. What I see around me is a very antiquated view of management where employees are given tasks below their aptitude and expected to check off the boxes, smile and nod, and go home. Hopefully retire with some meaningful resources in 30 years. Don’t rock the boat, speak up, or have opinions. Do as your told and let your manager move up the ladder.

I don’t see how business stay open under those conditions. Of course, many of the jobs I have had are in the public sector and the whole government model is atrocious at best. In fact, I can actually respect Trump for trying to reduce EPA jobs even though I am a conservation biologist. There’s a lot of waste in the agencies where I have worked. In fact, this is laughable, but most of the public sector jobs I have had should be eliminated and rolled into someone else’s job. I rarely had more than a few hours of actual work to do in a week. And that goes for my past 5 years of employment.

Some would relish in that sort of environment. It caused me to die a little each day.

So. So far, so good. Making progress but it is painful and slow. Next up is getting all of our financing straight and taking over all of our accounts and budgeting from our financial advisors. Sucks to be them. The bakery is closed.

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