About two weeks into my leave I looked at Jeff and said, “It’s interesting. Nothing has changed. You’re still sick, dad is still dead, but I feel So. Much. Better.” There it was. Incontrovertible proof. It was the job.
I’ve worked as a municipal attorney for just over thirteen years. The people I work with are great, but the work itself hasn’t been enjoyable for a number of years now. It’s not that it’s a bad job. Far from it. I’m just bored. I’m not passionate about it, and stepping away made it clear that I’ve been burned out for a very long time.
My dad was the Director of Communications for the Southern California Golf Association and a classic musical critic for Southern California newspaper publications. After he died it was clear that his passion had an effect on many people. He lived his life enjoying what he was doing, and I want to do the same thing.
What do I enjoy? Spending time with Jeff. Being outdoors. Being on the water. Being warm. Wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Being active.
What am I doing? Wearing business casual clothes while sitting behind a desk in an office forty hours a week in a place that’s too cold for my taste for six months of every year.
So I quit.
Tomorrow I go back to work until Friday, August 3rd. After that I’ll work part-time (Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday) if my boss needs me to, but only until Tuesday, September 4th. At that point my lawyer days will be behind me.
What are we going to do? Well, Jeff has improved enough over the past six months that his cardiologist said if he continues to do so we should leave in September as we had planned (flying or driving back for appointments every three months). So we’re operating under the assumption that we’re cutting the docklines on September 5th. We’re going to move out of the apartment and onto the boat at the end of July, and I’ll commute from Shenny for those last few weeks of work. What if we can’t go in September? We’ll find a studio apartment on the shoreline for six months and take off in the spring instead.
What am I going to do for work? At the moment, nothing. We’ve saved up a lot of money over the past few years as we’ve been preparing to leave. If we have to stay for the winter I’ll probably pick up some part-time work (because why not?), but not in an office. I’ll be perfectly content waitressing, bartending, working in a grocery store, whatever, for the winter.
I’d like to get my USCG Master Captain’s license, and if we are able to leave in the fall I’ll have enough sea time to be able to do that within the year. That way if I do decide to go back to work in the future or we want to pick up some extra cash, I can do something within the marine industry – work as a boat captain, a launch operator, for Tow Boat, something like that. I’ll be outside, on the water, warm, active, and wearing shorts and a t-shirt. I’ll be doing something I’m passionate about. And that’s all that matters.
Am I nervous about leaving a well-paying, full-time job with excellent benefits and a pension? Hell yes! But I know in my core that it’s the right thing to do. I’ve taken risks in the past and I’ve always made it work out. This time will be no different.
I read a quote from John Burroughs a few weeks ago that has stuck with me: Leap and the net will appear. I’ve leapt – and it feels so good.