May 8, 2007

Happy Half Anniversary to Me

It has been six months since I was an employee of Busy Law Firm, LLC. Six months since the alarm was going off because I had to face the day. Six months since I have received a paycheck. Six months since I cried my eyes out all day and then most of the way home.

I never thought I would be unemployed six months after leaving Houston. I fully expected to move here, get a job, work all day, come home, cook dinner and start it all over at 6 A.M. the next day. I expected to have a paycheck, health insurance and a 401K contribution.

Instead, I chose to stay home. My “job” is Ebay. A job situation where I have cried and moaned and pretty much drove my love insane. I have worked from the time I woke up until many hours after I should have gone to bed. I have contemplated and pulled out my resume several times in the past few months. Although, it took me 3 months to even look at updating it.

Instead of working 8-5, I have chosen to set my own hours, my own goals, my own priorities. In the process, I have learned a lot about myself. I am an extremely hardworker. Even when the payoff is small or doesn’t exist. I don’t accept failure. I have an amazing tenacity. I take my work very seriously. I lose myself in my work.

I have learned that my drive doesn’t always line up with my values. I have learned that I lose sight of the important things in my life in pursuit of succeeding or winning. I have learned that I ignore the people I love the most in order to get ahead.

I have a daily struggle with my decision. Should I continue doing something that may never pay me more than minimum wage? It is difficult for me to ask for money from my dear. He has no difficulty in giving it to me, he wishes that I would stop fretting about it so. I am very stubborn and expect to pay my own way. I am working on accepting that I don’t have to receive a paycheck to be a valuable member of our team.

I am still unable to reconcile my decision with some of my beliefs. First of all, I would not be doing this had I any debt. I have a cell phone bill and health insurance. Sure, rent, food, etc… but monthly bills coming in are just those two. I have not contributed to my savings account in sometime. While we were in transition from me leaving Houston to come out here, I did deplete my savings by a bit. Expecting to start working when we came here, it was of no concern to me, as I would quickly replace it. I haven’t. And, to my surprise, I am ok with that for now.

I expect a lot of people to have negative things to say in response to this post. My friends and family have said things that have hurt, why wouldn’t strangers? To be honest, I can be quite negative about the whole affair as well.

Why do I stick with it? Why haven’t I just sucked it up, polished up the resume, the shoes and gotten a job already?
Before moving out here, my love and I had a long distance relationship. I worked an intense day job, went to the gym, cooked myself dinner, kept the apartment clean and crashed, exhausted at the end of the day. On weekends, one of us would drive to see the other. We spent a ridiculous amount of the weekend sleeping. Exhausted from the week. I received late night and weekend calls from my boss. I worked on weekends. I stressed out on weekends, thinking about work. I dreamed about work.

I moved to where he was in training after I left Houston. I woke up when he went to work. Puttered about the apartment, cleaning, picking toes, worked out a bit. We had lunch together. I puttered the afternoon away. Then made dinner. We would have dinner, talk, watch TV and go to bed. For the first month after moving out here, our lives continued in much the same way. I set up the apartment, did a bit of decorating. Cooked a lot. Read a lot of books. I made excuses to myself as to why it wasn’t time to start looking for a job.

On weekends, we would sleep late, sure, but both of our stress levels had decreased tremendously. We enjoyed each other much more than we could during our rushed weekends of spending time, de-stressing and sleeping.

My replacement at Busy Law Firm called me almost daily at the beginning. The job I left was quite involved and completely new to her. I heard the daily gossip. I dealt with the drama firsthand at times. I received the stressful calls from my former boss. And when I hung up, I continued about my day, potting plants, dusting, watching trash TV.

I didn’t want this dream life to end. I wished that I came from a trust fund. I wished that I won the lottery, although I never play. I wished that I was smart with real estate and could flip homes. Most of all, I wished that there was a way for me to not change the ideal living conditions we had.

One day, I woke up ridiculously early, on my own. With a single thought - Ebay. I had sold on it before, things I didn’t want any longer. Things I found. Etc., etc. Why not make it my job? I could set my hours and the boss, well besides being hot, was really nice!

So I set about doing so. I am a Type A personality, extremely organized and detail-oriented. I made maps of the surrounding cities, mapped out all the thrift stores/flea markets. I went to the library each Thursday, mapped out all garage sales and estate sales going on. Created a list of the order in which I would visit each. I created spreadsheets. I read and read the Ebay forums. I poured everything I had into it.

After a month or so of selling, I created another spreadsheet, calculating the costs/earnings. And I cried. Oh, I cried. I had lost money. And since then, I keep the spreadsheet up on a weekly basis. Some weeks, I am ahead a bit, but then in bad weeks, I get behind a bit. I am definitely making better gains in the past month. I have opened a store on the Bay, I am learning what works and what doesn’t.

Will I become rich off this project? No way. Will I be able to pay my small bills? Sure. Will I be able to build my savings up? Possibly. Will my life be better for this choice? Absolutely.

I expect to return to a regular job sometime. But I cannot say this is just the part of me that is trained to believe you must work, you must be an employee, always on the big hamster wheel. Recently, I have been thinking I will stay out of the workforce for a year. But wow, if I am only halfway there... What an amazing 6 months we have in store. The last 6 months have been a huge rollercoaster of emotions.

I often think that I could go back to work and do the Bay as a hobby. This is a possibility, but I feel that I wouldn’t be giving my love enough time or attention, I would slack on other things to work on Ebay. And that is not what I want. What I have learned during these stressful months of self-helpy-ness, is that quality time with loved ones and quality time with yourself is what is important.

My values are becoming better defined. I may have tearful fits now and again, but I am happier now than I ever was working in Busy Law Firm. I am happier with my entire life than I have ever been in my life. And that is what is important to me.


MarlaQuack said...

Thanks for taking the time to say all that. I have wondered if it would be worth it to me to use ebay to earn enough. I have one friend who did it for a while. It took her full time to earn enough to make it work.


Sauntering Soul said...

Wow, I'm just jealous. I don't have the guts to stop working at my law firm and try to make my art a full time job. I say kudos to you! Enjoy it as long as you can.

Fianna said...

Bev, have you heard about Etsy? Handmade items only are sold there. Check it out.... I have heard good things... an easy way to start!

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