Why I Quit My Job – I’m Going To Start A Revolution From My Bed.
The Times They Are A’Changing
- Millions of books go unread
- Millions of songs go undanced to
- Millions of ideas go ignored
- Millions of stories go untold
Why? Simply because we are all always ‘on the go’, and we’ve run out of time.
Did you know the average person spends 100,000 hours of their life at work? As a fact of life it’s a pretty bloody sobering one, isn’t it?
When I was growing up, my dad was a single parent with four kids to bring up and a thriving business to build. He worked incredibly hard to provide for us. This meant that the little things often had to be understandably sidetracked.
But now as a father myself what I would have given for more of his time showing me things like how to draw and build the Lego houses that I made to try and emulate him as an ‘Artitet‘ as I called him. This was the 70’s, and that’s what blokes did. The concept of a SAHD (Stay at home dad ) was something that was as foreign as not buying your round in the pub. It simply didn’t happen. Any bloke that was a SAHD wasn’t doing his duty providing for his family. By not grafting his nuts off he was somehow less of a man. But this isn’t the 70’s; I want to provide, but just in a different way.
I realised that like many of us working dads I don’t see my child during the week. If I am lucky, I maybe get 30 minutes of the ‘not going to bed’ time routine.
For the last couple of years, I’ve been out the door at 7 am and if I am lucky I am home 7.00 pm – so on average I am out of the house 240 hours a month. In the life of a busy three-year-old, that’s pretty much the majority of time awake.
When I am around more, say during the holidays, our relationship is so much stronger. He likes me being around and I like being there to help teach him and answer the incessant WHY? questions in a way that he understands and makes him think.
Normally I get to hear second-hand about the games he got up to, the things he learned, the laughter he made. I am a secondary spectator until the weekend when I try and cram everything in, without having the time to stop and think was this the best thing do be doing?
That can’t be right. I know maybe people don’t have the choice. I know I am very lucky to have a good job with perks working for an international media agency creating campaigns for household names. But that can’t be the whole game can it? Something I read by Peter Fleming, author of ‘The Mythology of Work‘ the other day really resonated with me.
“To keep a society fixated and obsessed with work, especially when the problem of collective material wellbeing has long been solved, it is redelivered to the public in strict, black-and-white terms. The rationale goes like this: if you are not willing to put up with your job the alternative is complete penury; say, spending the rest of our days in Stoke Newington cemetery drinking super-strength White Ace cider wondering what went wrong.
Here is another one: you don’t like your job?! Compared to what some have to do around the world – such as the rat catchers of Mumbai, deemed one of the worse jobs ever – you really don’t have anything to complain about. Stop your bourgeois griping.
This forces us into a false double-bind. You either do the “right thing” and put up with your own private nightmare or, by default, consider yourself a privileged whining snob who is just one step away from social oblivion. The choice is yours.
In the end, no one can tell you “how” to quit your job. It might seem like a mere technical problem, but it is really an ethical one. However, it is worthwhile being aware of the ideological traps that lie in wait, carefully designed to preserve a world of work that is slowly spinning out of control.”
I’m going to start a revolution from my (sick) bed.
I hadn’t been happy for months. Deep down I knew things had to change, but how? I wanted to change the things that weren’t right, and that’s when it struck me or struck me down to be more precise. I got a severe case of Chickenpox which meant I was pretty much laid up in bed for over a week. There is only so much Netflix you can watch, so after two days I got incredibly bored, and my mind in its fevered state started to wander.
I knew I wanted to dream more, get up in the morning ready to make a difference. Was I making a difference in my job? Well yes, if you count increasing search traffic, rankings, coverage, views, and social media engagement levels. But what I knew deep down was that I wasn’t changing what was important to me. A quote I heard somewhere a few months ago has been haunting me ever since. The little voice in my head was screaming: you know this is right.
I had a choice in what I want to do and worked out that maybe, trying to climb the greasy corporate ladder isn’t as important as being around my family more. I had to ask myself ‘what do I want?’ – More spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, endless meetings and emails or did I want more conversations, imagination and more adventures? No contest is there. So I thought f”ck it, I handed in my notice and as of the end of this month, I am on sabbatical.
I wish I could have “quit like a boss” in some grand statement, but that really isn’t me. So instead I talked it through with EI, who did what she always does and backed me and my crazy schemes.
Of course, it wasn’t that straightforward; real life doesn’t work like that. I worked out how much money I would need to cover all the bills in that time. I looked at our bank balance and took some of the money that I had been left after my dad sadly passed away last year and used it to give us a buffer.
That money was sat in an account for a rainy day. Well, this is that rainy day and what better way to invest the money than buying a big chunk of time.
Time that can be spent giving my family experiences that will help shape the future and bring us closer together. I can do something that my dad sadly never had the chance do; allow me to be there for more of the little things like this
So this is my new mantra.
In the next few months, I am going not to worry about keeping 9-5 hours. I am claiming back the time spent on commuting in a little project I am calling #360withtheduke (more of that later).
I am going to have more time to do what is important.
I am going to stop looking at spreadsheets and start looking at what’s around me.
I am going to have more adventures with my son. I am going to build secret dens, go treasure hunting and understand more how the world looks like when you are three years old again. I want to explore and expand my world by doing things like learning how to play the piano and dance like a Northern Soulie, sing loudly at gigs and write my life stories.
What I really want
I want more conversations with random strangers and old friends that I have lost touch with, except for fleeting ‘Likes’ on their Facebook posts about their children, most of whom I have never met.
I want to be able to ask more questions, hear and tell more stories, make and be there for more family meals, kick down more doors, do more favours, pay more forward and disrupt the dull. Something I had always promised myself, I would do before I got caught up and sold out.
I am going to stop worrying about the small stuff and instead spend my energy doing the things that I have always wanted to.
For my wife and son, I am going to give them the most precious gift I have, which is more of my time. I want them to explore and learn what it’s like to have me around more, so I can support and encourage them to be as happy as they deserve to be as we have our adventure together.
The next six months is going to take me places that I haven’t figured out yet. But what I do know is wherever they may be, I’m going start a revolution. I’ve got a new job fitting my status of ‘World Changer’. The world I am changing is mine.