Mrs. Freedom 40 and I went out to dinner recently at our local Mexican joint. Mmmm tacos! During the meal our conversation turned to my upcoming sabbatical. This is a great benefit that I receive for having worked with my company for as long as I have, and for achieving the position I’m in. The sabbatical is for one entire month and is fully paid! Like I said, it’s a really ridiculous benefit.
It’s also something that has been hanging over my head for some time. What do I mean by this? Well, I qualified for the sabbatical over a year ago and I need to take it within three years of that time. Back in January I considered using it when I went to the Philippines, but we had already scheduled the trip and it was for quite a bit less time than a month. I didn’t want to just come home and hang out for a week or two, thus “wasting” some of my time off. So, it’s continued to be hanging out there as something that needs to be scheduled and used.
At the same time, over the last year there have been at least a few occasions where I’ve thought really hard about just calling it quits. Maybe to activate the Freedom 40 plan a bit early, or maybe to just go work for a company that is less demanding and will give me some new and interesting challenges. But – with my sabbatical in play, quitting would mean giving up four weeks of paid time off, you’d be crazy to leave that on the table.
With this is mind I’ve been eager to get this thing scheduled and approved. At the end of July I accomplished this. I’ll be on sabbatical from mid September to mid October, travelling in Europe. I’m still figuring out all the details, but I’m pretty sure it’ll be epic.
Shortly after I return, my annual bonus will be paid out. And with these two events occurring, there will not be much holding me to my current job. (…well, other than my nice salary, overall benefits package, etc, etc.)🙂
But I really am continuing to think more seriously about leaving, and this idea of leaving came up in my conversation with my wife. Naturally, she asked, “what will you do?”
She knows I have “crazy ideas” about retiring at 40, but we don’t really talk about it that much. She doesn’t read this blog or other blogs about financial independence. It’s just not her thing.
Her question was a fair one, and I began to answer it by truthfully saying, “I don’t know”.
I went on to explain a few different ideas in my head.
Maybe I’ll get another job in a similar field, but in a position that requires less hours. That would certainly be a good thing, and probably would result in only a small pay cut.
Maybe I could get another job in a completely different field. Lots of people change career paths at some point in their lives. Why couldn’t I do that too? I don’t know what I would choose, but I’d like to think that something different could bring some new and interesting challenges. If I were to take this path, my salary would probably drop significantly, but at least I’d still be making something.
Or maybe I could just quit and then figure it out. Ideally I’d love to spend a bunch of time travelling slowly around the U.S. and the world. This will be tough to do though as long as Mrs. Freedom 40 enjoys her job and remains employed…
Given more available time I think I’ve got lots of articles and probably even a book or two in me. Would I be able to monetize these things? Who knows – but we have enough now so that I could take the risk. I could also try to build a business either online or in the physical world. I have some ideas about what that might be, but nothing concrete. If I choose this direction – I’ll need to figure this out in a more specific way. As my wife appropriately commented at this point in the conversation, “You can’t just quit and then do nothing!” She’s right. I need to figure out what will be next before I quit.
What I do know however, is that I’ve been trying to convince myself for almost as long as I’ve had this job (10 years) that I enjoy it. In truth, there are many things about it I do enjoy, but also in truth, there are many things about it I have never enjoyed and those things are even worse now.
But quitting is hard. Going in an uncertain path is a bit scary. However, I’m beginning to feel more and more confident that I need to make a switch in one way or another. I don’t know exactly which option I’ll choose, but I’m tired of complaining about my job and then doing nothing to change my situation. Soon it’ll be time to shit or get off the pot.