The Next Thing?

August 1, 2011 at 7:11 am | Posted in Career angst | 19 Comments

I’m thinking of leaving my job.

There, I said it.


J has been interviewing for some consulting jobs over the past few weeks; all of which would require at the very least a longer commute – and at the most, lots of travel.

Right now he does daycare pickup every day, since I do dropoff and don’t get to work until 9am.

I’ve mentioned that my work kinda sucks right now. There really is WAY more work than I can get to on a 40 hour a week schedule, and the muckity mucks here DO actually work my old firm hours – 60-80 hours a week.

I feel a TON of pressure to work MORE, MORE MORE!

And add that to a new system, plus a new internal audit function, plus a massive change in how we’re expensing some funky awards, on top of having to be compliant with a new reporting technology with the SEC, on top of auditors and day to day accounting…

I have no idea how we’ll manage life around a job where J is gone more.

So I called the woman I know who has her own consulting business. And we talked about freelance work; where she goes out and gets business and assigns it to me and pays me by the hour.

And then I have the flexibility to work part time, full time, or not at all at periods of time if I need it. And the part time work, on an hourly basis, would essentially net me the same amount I make now. (Gross wages, of course, because I’ll be self-employed and will have to pay that tax.)

Seems like it should be a no-brainer, right?


The tradeoff – less security than I have now. Not that I have a TON of job security, given that last year they got rid of 4 of my coworkers because they weren’t the right fit. But freelancing is worse.

Though I can augment that through my own network – since I’m not going to be an employee of this woman’s consulting firm, I can go out on my own and freelance for other companies if I want. If I worked hard enough at it, I might be able to have my OWN business doing it. Maybe.

Biggest issue, I’m discovering, is my own freaking damn ass baggage.

I’ve never actually LEFT a job when there’s a lot of work I still need to accomplish.

I have this awful feeling that leaving now would be akin to declaring defeat. Like I can’t hack it as a mom and full time worker.

I’m scared of being a failure.

Those statement are totally ridiculous, I know.

It’s just how I’m feeling.

So I’m putting it out into the internet in the hopes that maybe by saying it out loud, it’ll diminish to something MUCH smaller.

And hopefully, as I keep thinking about it, I won’t feel as frozen with worry and fear.



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  1. You know my thoughts on this.
    I just wanted to say that the biggest leaps reap the biggest rewards.

  2. Oh wow. I have been there and done that with the job that had WAY more work than one person should EVER be expected to do. I dreaded going in each morning and felt guilty leaving (and late at that!) when there was still work to be done. I wasn’t going to quit because I hadn’t found another job yet but I absolutely hated every day I was there. It didn’t help that I worked for crazy boss either. What did help was that her craziness finally won out and one day, on a Friday morning, she fired me. And after the shock wore off it was the most relieved I have ever been. She decided I was “running her business into the ground” and I was just glad to be away from that nut house.

    Do NOT feel guilty for a situation in which you don’t have control over your workload and I’m sure whatever you choose to do will be the best thing for you and your family.

  3. You know what? I don’t think anyone can handle full-time work and motherhood. I just don’t think our society is made that way. I mean, many of us do it, but lots of things fall by the wayside. Important things, like (for me) cleaning the house. I think that’s why societies have families, so we can divide up tasks. Now, I think we should have the ability to choose how we divide things up – both parents work less than full-time, one works part-time and the other fulll-time (either parent), one stays home. Whatever. But I think with two parents working full-time, you’re just running on empty all the time. It’s not just you.
    So if this freelance thing could work, it sounds awesome! Scary, I know, but a great opportunity.

  4. Such great advice here!! I say go for it and don’t wait until your projects are all done (they are never “all done”). Nothing ventured, nothing gained. And it sounds like you have connections that will help you through. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Your job sounds horrific. And while the leap to freelancing would be scary, it sounds like you have all the required abilities, and the needed contacts to get started. And could you and J. make a decision to have you try freelancing for a set amount of time, and then if it’s not working out, have you go back on the job market? You sound very employable. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. From one CPA/Mom to another – make the leap! Best choice I ever made was to leave THE FIRM and go out on my own. I work from home, set my own hours, and I am here for my kids. Of course, I work nights, weekends and anytime a client needs something – but it is worth it.

  7. I say DO IT! I know that’s so much easier said than done, but right now you are trying to balance motherhood with a more-than-full-time job where you’re not appreciated for the more-than-reasonable number of hours you’re putting in. You’re not a failure for walking away from something that isn’t what you initially agreed to. And furthermore, you will LOVE the work-life balance that comes with working fewer hours. Many of my favorite moments with A happen during the weekday hours we have together. If you do the freelancing and then decide that having less job security is unacceptable, you can always look for another salaried position. But it really sounds like it’s time to leave your current job, so you’re not losing much even if freelancing isn’t for you.

    That’s my opinion, anyway ๐Ÿ™‚

    • This woman knows what she is talking about.

  8. I think it seems like a good choice. Onward!

  9. Ok, Serenity. Do it. Quit your job. You will be *SO MUCH HAPPIER*. Really. Do it. Do not look back.


  10. Do it.

  11. I don’t think it can be a failure if doing this leads you to a happier life and a more contented life. I know it can be scary to make this decision, but oftentimes the scariest decisions are the right ones.

  12. Even though I am an accomplished executive, I share the same inane fears about my employability. That said, I’ve left my career twice (and cannot tell you how happy I was to do so in both circumstances).

    I am now considering what I will do for work now that I want to return and I won’t lie, it is daunting.

    Do it, do it, do it, do it, a THOUSAND times do it. One thing you can not get back in life is time.

  13. Life isn’t easy. But experiences like this are a good reminder that it doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Every marriage and family maintain a delicate imbalance that can be upset by a job loss or change, new baby, or illness.

    Sometimes it’s better to leave on a high note rather than struggle along with something that you know isn’t going to work. I wish you the best of luck with your decision.

  14. BALANCE, not imbalance. Sigh. Sorry.

  15. I totally can’t handle a full-time job and being a mom. I try not to feel like a “failure”, but i can relate to what you are writing about.
    It’s a hard choice to leave the (somewhat) security of your job, but in the end it is possible that everyone will be happier.
    And isn’t that what is most important?
    Good luck.

  16. I think that whenever you leave a salaried job for freelancing, as I did about 3 years before the girls were born, you worry about looking like a failure. I know I did, and I felt that a lot of people were very disapproving, but that was just my own paranoia. In fact, people were very envious! I think you will find that, as well.

    Freelancing can be tough — I would never recommend it to anyone who does not have a salaried partner or spouse, and very often your hours are not really your own, because you don’t get holidays (and sometimes you don’t get weekends) and if something throws a wrench in your plans, it’s entirely your problem. You do have to have some kind of dependable childcare, especially if J. is traveling more and since you don’t have family nearby. And it is hard to go from being an equal contributor to a dependent while you get your business going. Depending on the field, you might not get much control over your hourly rate, especially if you are competing with others. My own idea of my freelance income was wildly overestimated for this reason.

    Having said that… my happiness improved the moment I gave notice, and I wish I had done so earlier. It’s a real accomplishment to know that you’re in demand as a freelancer, thanks to your own work and word of mouth. Also, I think it’s good for I & N to actually SEE me at work (on the rare occasions I can work in front of them without interference) and know that their mom takes care of them first but has other duties as well. And if J. has a job with more traveling, it will be very beneficial for O. to have more time at home with you. D.’s work schedule can be very erratic, and we think that our current arrangement is the best for I & N and for our family. And I have a built-in reason to get out of the house once or twice a week. : )

    You’ll manage wonderfully!

  17. You’ve got it backwards. The American Dream is to work for yourself, on your time, with your steam–to be your own boss, own your own business, own your own life. That IS the upward mobility we are all taught to believe in. By staying employed for a company, as a corporate cog…that is the failure, at least from an American standpoint. I get being scared to go it “alone” (though your risk seems mitigated as you have people shuttling you work), but it is worth it. Even if you make less money, you will be better off. You will own your life. Good for you and congratulations!

    I started working for myself as a consultant 4 years ago and I have never looked back. Between what I make and my husbands salary, we keep the lights on, eat out a bit, put some away in savings, and still have some left for a family vacation or two. And I have time with my kid, time with my husband, and time for myself. You WILL NOT MISS the corporate world–in fact, you will wonder how you survived all the years you did in the joint once you are out. Get out and don’t look back.

    Best to you! Carpe diem my friend!!

  18. Though I’m not thinking of consulting (I haven’t the foggiest idea how to start), I am considering taking something with much less job security than I had before … if I learned one thing though my recent experiences, it was that I was worth more than a crappy job, and I owed it to myself to treat myself well as an employee. That wasn’t failure … that was success.

    I hope that you can take a leap that makes you happy.

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