For about the past two years, I’ve been fortunate enough to be in graduate school for something I love. And I get to do it FULL-TIME. Yes, I’ve had a part-time job throughout my time at school, and this summer I worked two FT jobs. But overall, my lifestyle has been free of 9-5 office jobs. That means no wasted hours of the day when I’m surfing the internet looking for ways to ‘change my life’ and get out of the situation I’m in.
I was talking to Laura on the phone tonight and I realized just how lucky we both were to have the lifestyles we do. Laura is a brand presenter and gets to travel around the country on behalf of major companies, and like me, we don’t have set schedules. It’s kind of incredible, really. I didn’t realize how grateful I was for this lifestyle until the past few weeks. My time is my own; I can work when I’m personally most productive, not just during the set hours of 9-5pm.
But, for me, unless I can find a way to make this continue, my lifestyle will look a lot different come 2016. I’ll have to find a way to support myself and have health insurance, which most likely means a FT job. Maybe not – maybe I’ll be fortunate enough to get one of the writing fellowships I’m applying for, or maybe I’ll find a few teaching jobs and cobble together a living. That’s the ultimate goal, I think. I’ve realized how much I value working at my own pace and on my schedule.
Apparently so do a lot of other Americans. Did you know that one in five Americans works from home? That’s no shabby figure. The other 80% of us spend about 8.7 hours a day in the office, according to the American Time Use Study (what an amazing name for a study, BTW). That’s a heck of a lot of time! Not only that, but most of us don’t actually work that full 8.7 hours. Many studies have shown that the average person spends 1.5 – 3 hours per day on personal activities at work.
Here’s my thing. I feel like when I work at my pace, in my own way, I get work done efficiently and to the best of my abilities rather than when I’m forced to work set times in a set place. What I’m saying probably resonates with a lot of people out there, and the question becomes – how can we escape the cubicle life?
Well, I’m still working on it. But I think becoming a master of your personal brand and owning your skill set is definitely a start. And saving and investing your money wisely.