At the end of November 2016 I finally took the plunge and quit my job. At that point I’d been working in the animation and post-production industry for 31 years. Three decades doing the same thing is a long time. I needed a change.
Giving up up my Big Bucks salary was nerve wracking, but the thought of staying put was even worse. While I loved the creative and people aspects of my job, the advertising industry as a whole was getting me down.
When you’re not happy and your heart’s not in it, you need to move on. But how?
Taking a leap of faith is all good and well, but you still need to pay the bills. We didn’t realize it at the time, but we’d actually started preparing for this transition when we sold almost everything we owned back in 2008 and focused all our efforts on fixing our broken finances.
Fast-forward to 2016 (and my Damascus moment) and we’re in a pretty decent place financially. With the debt long gone and our savings growing nicely, we’re perfectly primed for me to take that leap of faith.
A year ago we created a test budget to determine the least we’d need to earn to allow us both to reduce our work hours, but still maintain a moderately decent lifestyle (i.e. one that included coffee).
Since we didn’t have the means to stop working entirely, we realized that the key to cubicle freedom would be to downsize our lifestyle. After doing some initial research we realized renting an unfurnished apartment would be a lot more cost effective. (We had, until that point, been renting furnished.) This prompted us to embark on our latest lifestyle experiment.
We then turned our attention to our other expenses and quickly whittled those down as well. It’s amazing how easy it is to cut back when you have a tantalizing goal. That said, we made sure to find a balance between being frugal and still enjoying our lives.
When our lease ran out in September it was with our new test budget in mind that we started looking for a new apartment. Our new place —which, was also the only apartment we looked at—is $300 less than what we allowed for. Winning.
If past experience has taught us anything it’s that, in the words of William H. Murray...
“The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.”
After leaving my fancy full-time job with its big fat pay cheque (and bucket loads of stress) I landed a temporary mentoring/operations gig with less hours, less money and no stress. Working only three days a week left me free to start growing my VA business. Since then I have transitioned to working from home 100% of the time and wouldn’t change it for the world.
I can honestly say, right now is the happiest I’ve ever been. We live in a small, studio apartment, we own almost nothing, we commute on foot or by bus and my time is finally my own. My VA clientele is growing by the day.
Better yet, I get to choose the people I work with and the types of projects I take on.