Wednesday, February 3, 2016

After the 40 week plan is done - what's next? Part 1

It's a question I've been asking myself a lot lately, given that it's starting to feel a lot more real. I've yet to make any announcements at work, but will likely give them much more than the standard 2 weeks notice. I'll probably give something like 8 weeks notice instead. I won't have an offer with a competitor, which is one reason people don't typically announce these things until the end. It avoids the whole being escorted out by security situation. ;-)

It's really, really difficult for me to picture what comes next, quite honestly. But, let me give it a try, thinking of some of the more immediate plans as well as some of the fuzzier, "in the future" thinking.

  • July - I plan to be really busy over the summer. We'll take the kids to the beach for the 4th of July & a week at the coast.
  • July - I'm going to Napa with my sister & best friend (replacement for our typical Las Vegas trip) to celebrate my 40th birthday, very belatedly. I need to find a camp for the boys, as M won't be able to take the time off of work to spend with the boys.
  • July - the boys also have a mandatory soccer camp, so that will be a nice, fun mini break. A preview of things to come.
  • August - the boys go back to school on August 15th, and start soccer the first week of August.
  • August - I'm going to do the Hood to Coast relay again with my family.
  • September - I expect this is where things will "settle down" a bit. Most of our main summer fun & trips will be over, the boys will be in school, & life will be finding my groove. Without work. 
  • October - I'm planning to start looking for some sort of flexible work, although I may wait until January or start earlier. Who knows what I'll be feeling like.

By the end of 2016, I need a pretty good sense of our actual, non-working me budget, as well as the potential income I think I can earn with a flexible job. That will give us an opportunity to plan for the future (house buying here, potentially selling our vacation house, etc). I feel like we're in a bit of planning limbo until we get a clearer picture of our new reality. That limbo definitely causes me to have anxiety, and I know makes M a bit twitchy as well. Not that we will need my income - that's what all of the savings is for. But, we are planners, and like to look much further out that next month or next year. That's challenging in the current situation.

As for the type of employment I'd like to do in the future, I can honestly say that I've spent hours upon hours thinking of this, and have come up with absolutely nothing. I know that I want to continue to work in some fashion, and my only real requirements are 1) that the role is flexible 2) I'm paid decently well, and 3) the people I work with aren't crazy. ;-) I'm guessing there are plenty of roles that might fit this criteria. At this point, it's like a black box. The minute I try to envision the future, without my current insane job, my mind shuts down & cannot get past the point of quitting this job. Maybe that's normal? To be so burned out that you can't even contemplate the type of work you'd enjoy as a next step? I hope so, because otherwise it's going to get pretty interesting when the time comes that I need/want to start looking. 

So, more to come for certain on the "what's next" part of my plan! 


  1. Scary but hugely exciting and a lot more gratifying than your current job.

    1. Absolutely - I'm feeling both emotions for sure. :-)

  2. Does your current firm use any sort of contract labor for positions in your particular specialty? Perhaps there would be opportunity to carve off little pieces of your current craziness or pursue special projects on an as available type basis? Either way, I'm hugely excited for you entering this next phase of life's adventure and looking forward to all that comes next.

    1. The work I do is kept relatively confidential (i.e. we don't have many contingent staff). Because of the confidentiality, we require our contingent staff to be on site for 40 hours/week. It's a possibility that there may be something outside of the current plan that could work, but I'm very doubtful given the confidentiality and on site nature of the work.

  3. All I can say is yes it is normal! There is a good chance that you could have a few months where you are mentally decompressing (significantly). I found that the first few months after I stopped working last year exercising (and thinking while at the gym!) helped tremendously. Something to keep in mind as you plan your days.

    Also, it might be a tad earlier but have you thought about what you are going to say when you make your announcement? It's always hard because a lot of people won't "get" your decision if you are honest and you probably still want to keep the door open (or at least not firmly shut) because life happens. This may not be an issue for your situation but something to keep in mind.

    And given how long of a lead time you plan to give them, depending on what you say, there could be senior mgrs who try to convince you to stay or change your mind or... If this is the case, best to come up with responses in advance especially if you think there could be those annoyingly persistent ones.

    1. Spending time exercising sounds like something I need & would enjoy :-) I also agree - I think there will be a big period of decompressing in store for me.

      I have thought of what I'm going to say. I plan to talk to my manager directly about the role & my current need for balance to not be a match. I plan to frame it positively. It's a huge & amazing role & they need someone who can give it more. For others who are not familiar with my health, I plan to keep it more high level on the "more time with my family" lens. It's uncommon at my level, but not unheard of. One of the reasons I was happy about the promotion in the winter is that it makes it pretty clear that I'm leaving due to my desires, not the desires of the company. ;-) Otherwise, how I frame it would matter more, I think.

      I tried to clarify in another comment, but our work is kept very close to the vest with full time employees. We do use contingent staff, but in a very limited fashion, and only on more transactional type projects. It's possible & I've tried to brainstorm.I know what my personal requirements are: 1) Flexibility, 2) No traveling, 3) hours that match kids school 4) set up for success (i.e. not a project that realistically can't be done by someone in my role). I hope that by understanding my own priorities, I'll be able to make a determination about any options at the time. *fingers crossed*. It's so much more nuanced & complex in the moment, of course :-)