When I turned 40 earlier this month, I had a little boo-hoo moment about how I’m not as rich as I thought I’d be at this stage in my life. Now, please don’t start – I am all over the perspective issue. And I’m truly grateful we not living in an A4 envelope in the gutter.
But the bottom line is that I gave up my comfortable wage in my corporate communications career to become a freelance writer at the age of 39 which, while potentially the boldest and best move I have ever made, is not really bothering my accountant with too many zeros just yet. (Okay, when I say ‘accountant’, I mean me with my shoes and socks off.)
Then, last week, a job appeared before me. It was almost perfect. Exactly the sort of work I would choose to do. Pay was on the low side, but still more than what I’m earning now. I called up to ask some questions and before I knew it, I had an interview. The woman I spoke to even said the words, “If ever there has been someone perfect for a job, it’s you and this one.” (Sure, she was not a master of the spoken word, but I took it as a compliment.)
Then, in typical Carolyn-style (think Ally McBeal if she liked pies), I overanalysed every aspect of this sucker and what it would mean for me if I was offered the position. Then I skipped pilates, drank beer, and came up with a list of pros and cons.
- I could pay someone to mop my floors for the first time since 2012 (I’ve mopped them since then, but I haven’t paid anyone – although I haven’t mopped them since 2013.).
- I could outsource the seven piles of washing that are sitting in my bedroom waiting for someone to notice them.
- I could get Kelly Stoakes to give me a fabulous ombre colour involving words like ‘caramel’ and ‘honey’ instead of the Coles “Brown Brown, Prices are Brown” I have right now.
- I could work regular hours and then come home and think about home things.
- I could buy diamonds and jets and not wonder where grocery money was going to come from this week.
- I would only get to hang with my kids on the weekends, and maybe for an hour each evening (and that precious bonus hour Little Red has decided to spend screaming at me in the middle of the night)
- My professional destiny and sense of worth would again be in the hands of someone else, which I have always struggled with
- I wouldn’t be able to take holidays and days off, or go and help at the school tuckshop whenever I want. (Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, just kidding. I will never volunteer in a fucking tuckshop. Children are feral animals in that setting. *Shudder*)
- I wouldn’t know if there were bugs in my pasta.
Perhaps I should explain: while I was working at home yesterday, I noticed a crackling sound coming from the new bag of orzo I had bought to make minestrone. Upon investigation, it was full of little black bugs. This would have gone unnoticed if I worked elsewhere. We could have eaten the bugs, had them breed in our stomachs and then burst open Alien-style, guts flying everywhere.
My whole family could have exploded.
It was the bugs in the pasta that tipped it. That, and the fact that I grew up in a single parent household where my awesome mum had to work long hours so we could get by. I missed her a lot, and I don’t want that to be my kids.
And I don’t want to be too busy to live. To enjoy hanging with my very handsome husband, to play Octonauts and jump on the trampoline with my kids (pelvic floor willing), and to have stuff that’s just for me – like this wonderful little community of working mums we have created at Champagne Cartel.
Should I have gone for the interview anyway to see what would happen? Probably. But I’m just not someone who can phone shit in. If I’m not into what I’m doing, it shows, and that would just be awks for everyone.
So I’ve committed to the freelance life, at least for now. I will write, edit, and social media manage for food (or money, preferably money). Call me!
Have you made any life-changing career calls? How did it work out? What would you do in my situation?