Monday, March 7, 2016

Changes to the 40 week plan

It seems to be the week to report major life changes in the blog-sphere! :-)

If you've been following along since the beginning of this project (way back in September), you'll know that I've been really motivated to make substantial life & career changes. These changes are because my work doesn't allow for much/any work life balance, requires a lot of personal sacrifice (weekend/evening work) & international travel, and isn't a good fit for our current lifestyle. At the same time, M's career has grown & is much more demanding than it's ever been.

All of that said, M & I are still very much in process of figuring out our next move (both literally & figuratively). We have about 18 months left on our rent here, and after that, we know that it will be next to impossible to find another house to rent within our school district.

As much as I'd love to stick to my original end date at work of June 8th, it's just not realistic at this point. I really, really need to understand our next step with regard to housing, mortgage payments, budget, etc before I'm comfortable leaving such a high paying job. I am a woman who needs a plan! :-)

The stress of making one decision (my job) without fully understanding our next step with regard to housing has  been keeping me up at night. For example, if I worked another 6 months & was able to save $50K towards our down payment, what if that's the difference between buying a house in or near our desired school district? The wrinkle with my job is that I get a substantial yearly bonus that I could apply to a down payment, and monthly stock vests that we'd also apply. If I have a range in mind of how much money we need in a down payment to create a reasonable mortgage payment, I can do the math to back into that & then come up with a realistic end date.

Until we have a pretty firm plan on housing, I don't feel it's in our best interest as a family for me to leave my job. When I make this change, I need to be confident that I'll be able to understand the financial impact on our family, and we're not there yet.

So, what's next? M & I are going to be actively looking at houses & areas near us, as well as spending much more time in conversations about: selling our house in Bellevue, our house at the beach, etc & determining what we can save for a down payment to hopefully create a reasonable mortgage in this area.

Last week, when I had time to myself to sit & think quietly (perhaps originally fueled by some pain management ;-)), I realized that I absolutely have to push back on my job & see if I can make something workable here before I go. Can I reduce my travel? Hours? Work from home every Friday consistently? Until I have those hard conversations with my manager, I don't feel that I've done what I need to do to evaluate my options.

I, surprisingly, feel really, really good about my decision. I don't think I understood how much anxiety I had about leaving my job before the housing decision was settled until I actually took that off the table. Knowing that the decision is mine, and that I'm going to create changes in my role makes me feel much better. I don't feel trapped - I know that this is a decision with a lot of thought and planning, and it's best for the family. Once we have a plan ironed out, I'll again be back with either 1) my job has changed for the better & is manageable or 2) another exit timeline. Either one is in the cards at this point.

It's hard to be moving completely down a path & need to change course along the way, but such is life, I suppose. I'd say the biggest challenge for me since we've moved to California has been my anxiety about our plan with housing. It's a really, really big wild card that influences all of our other decisions. It's helpful to set that as the first problem to solve, with my work being one of the influencers on that decision.

And, that's my update on the 40 week plan! Thoughts or advice? 


  1. I think, for what it's worth, you're doing the right thing till you are clearer about the house situation. Since you're looking to maybe buy in your area, building up the money will help. But, have you decided for sure not to go back to Seattle? Perhaps since that house is rented out you can still leave it as such for a while. I was thinking too, that you're south of SF , perhaps looking a little farther out will lower the costs. It's still a ridiculously high cost area though. I think you holding tight to your very high paying job for now is wise. You'll know more when you start looking at houses to buy and then it hopefully will get clearer.

    1. We have not decided on Seattle. It's another option. Honestly, the weather makes it a bit of a hard sell to go back, but we are open to that option. M really, really likes his job & it's very well paid, which is a big influencer on our immediate next steps.

  2. I'm really happy reading this post. <3 Even though a lot of decisions are still up in the air and a lot of unknowns; you are completely in control and doing what is best for you and your family. If something goes wrong there is still a cushion to soften the blow - but you aren't rushing into a decision either. No countdown or deadlines when you need to have everything figured out - I'm sure you have enough of those at work lol

    1. Thanks - that's how it feels. Nice to know all of the decisions are mine, and are what's best for us right now.

  3. I was very surprised to read this but it makes perfect sense. It would stress me out not to have a solid plan. You actually seem less stressed about work lately. Are you or does it just seem that way?

    1. I was surprised by how good I felt after I'd made the decision. And yes, once you've decided that work is something you can take or leave, and that the decision is entirely your own, it helps a lot with reducing the stress. Or, that's been my experience. I just haven't been taking it as seriously.

  4. The great thing about the plan is that it is yours - you can change it as needed, and it appears that it was needed. This is a fabulous thing yet details need ironed out so you can actually enjoy it. I like the idea of speaking with your boss about keeping your current job but cutting back. Do they have any idea of your health issue? Your disease is life-threatening and they need to be keeping that in mind while keeping your stress level down. Great idea to fly your parents versus another summer camp - those are bloody highway robbery!

  5. HP - I'm not surprised with this decision. I think you should push back on the job to get some more flexibility. But I also think that you should request a block of time off in the summer so that you can do some of the stuff you wanted to with your boys. My suggestion would be a month.

    This is completely doable if you and your manager start planning for this now. It also gives some of your direct reports the opportunity to shine or show their weaknesses. If your team doesn't have a succession plan for you then now is the time to develop it.

    From reading your posts you need a proper break. Not a long weekend or a week off where you are on call. If you are such a key person that the firm cannot function without you then that is a huge risk. (No one is irreplaceable although based on workloads dumped on certain people one would think otherwise.)

    Your firm likes you. They will want to keep you. A month off (but with no checking in or minimal if possible) is an opportunity for you to "reboot" physically, mentally, emotionally etc. etc. You will be more valuable to the firm after such a break.