When The Husband Finally Leaves His Job
It has been only two months since Jaysen left his job yet it feels like a distant memory. We have been sitting on this decision for almost two years. There were so many things to consider, countless risks to address and here we are. I have to say we are pleasantly surprised at how this is turning out.
Looking back, I realize the weight of the challenge was in conquering the fear of the unknown. This decision was also a test of faith. We have prayed for guidance on making the best decision for our family. We prayed for God to give us comfort and that our faith be steadfast in Him. I can never forget a conversation we had with our D-group leader while we were still undecided. We asked him how do we really know what God wants for us. And his reply made perfect sense: God wants you to be in a place where you will be able to put your complete faith in him and no one else. Not even yourself.
Leaving his career was a daunting decision. It was not made out of whimsy or emotion. It was calculated. It was a difficult decision because Jaysen actually loved his job and the people he was working with. But time came when we had to re-evaluate where we want to be as a family. We paused and took stock of where we are and what our priorities and dreams are. Our dreams and priorities are quite clear: quality family time, good health, meaningful work, and financial flexibility. When you think your career will not push you to achieving your life goals, your dreams, then it might be the best time to consider your options. For us, it looks like his career does not support us in achieving our dreams. While his employment has been generous and we will be forever grateful, it has served its purpose and it is time for us to seek a greater goal. Early on, we have already acknowledged the fact that employment is limiting. True, it will give you security and comfort, but it will own your time. Your professional growth will be limited within the confines of the corporate structure. The fulfilment of your vision will depend on the company's direction. While this may be fine for some people, for some it is not.
Why now, when Jaysen's career is on an upswing? Because there will never be a perfect timing. There will always be loose ends I wished we secured, there will always be the what-if's. I wish we are more financially secure than we are when we transition. Truth is, we will never be ready. And if we wait for that perfect time or when we are fully ready, our life would have passed us by. And that is a risk we are not willing to take. If this is indeed a mistake, we'd rather make that mistake now when we are relatively young and can still make up for it in the future. There will come a point where you just take that leap, calculated as it may be, and deal with the variables as they come.
The months leading up to the final move, we were already preparing ourselves. We had to prepare mentally and emotionally. We tried to make this change as manageable as we can.
First, we had to make that commitment to each other and to this decision. That this decision is not his but ours. Whatever comes out of it, the successes, failures, and sacrifices, will be ours and it will make us stronger. We will work through it and make it work for us. We have to stand for this decision, no matter what the doubters say. And there are be doubters, for sure, with our best interest at heart. We have to learn to diplomatically navigate our way through questions like: "Are you okay to take on the financial pressure when Jaysen is jobless?" or "Why are you risking it when you are already comfortable now?". :)
Second, I have to trust Jaysen even more. I have full confidence in Jaysen. I was attracted to him because he was driven, achiever, and competitive. BUT, I am also a creature of routine and comfort. Anything out of plan, will drive me crazy. When he finally became "independent", his schedule and agenda vary daily. And I have to trust that he is actually accomplishing something.
Third, financially prepare for the change in income flow. We knew that cash flow will be different and will fluctuate due to the interest Jaysen wanted to pursue. We want to give ourselves leeway, for Jaysen to be able to explore and set-up and buy some time. So we saved for an emergency fund as well as one year's worth of household expenses. This includes mortgage, electricity bill, maid's salary, dog food, gas, dates, etc. We saved that much so that we won't feel the pressure and Jaysen can pursue his dream without worrying about the bills. This is important because it means he won't be tempted to bail out quickly at the first sign of failure. This gave us the luxury of committing mistakes.
Fourth, establish clarity of the change and its impact and the expectations from each member of the family (that means the two of us). Obviously, there will be changes. Spending habits might need to be tightened a little until things stabilize. It will be helpful to make everyone know what the expected changes will be and let them understand how it will affect them. It is imperative that expectations are very clear. Jaysen and I had a conversation on how we will manage our finances while he sets up. That means eating out only once a week and having a set budget when eating out. Less unplanned expenses, putting off that new tube of lipstick until my old ones run out no matter how much I covet the new shade being released :) .
It is never easy and there are a lot of uncertainties. But the rewards are priceless. We get to spend more time with extended family without worrying about his "leaves". I still have to manage mine, but the company I work for understands "work-life balance" more. We are able to adjust our schedules around each other's availability. Mine less flexible than his. On the days when he comes home late from a meeting, he can drive me to work the next day to make up for "lost time". Or the weekdays when I have to be up really early, he wakes up as early as I do to help me prepare for the day rather than both of us rushing around each other. If he knows he'll miss dinner that night, we can go out for lunch instead. On the professional front, the possibilities are endless. I enjoy watching him explore and test things. See what he can do and how far he can go. His limits are only where his imagination takes him. He can be somebody different everyday. Some days, he is a financial planner, others a start-up businessman. There are days when he is a handyman or a photographer. And that is just the beginning. It is immensely satisfying to have conversations about ideas and possibilities. Things that seem useless and funny at the same time plausible. This guy is actually thinking about learning to make furniture so he can make some for our home. And, why not? :) I say go for it! :)