Yesterday was interesting.
I work for a medium sized environmental consulting firm. They have multiple offices up and down the east coast and about 150 employees. My little corner of their world is only 16 employees of which I am one of the 4 senior staff members. I have told the people that work in the office that I am leaving but none of the corporate folks were aware. We have been working on a transition plan for when I leave and it was time we told corporate.
For me this couldn’t have been at a better time. I have really been hitting a good stride work wise lately. While I don’t like my job and I don’t want to do it anymore, I like to think I am really good at it. In the last year, one of my biggest clients from my previous company, the largest school district in the state, brought their work to me over my previous company. I have also been getting new work all over the place from local colleges, architect and contractors. This is great because the company has been considered more of a petroleum consulting firm that caters to big oil companies and this work I have been getting greatly diversifies the work. On top of that, I have been able to get this work at better profit margins than many of our other clients. I also run the construction and emergency response side for one of our major petroleum companies. This is a fast moving and stressful part of our portfolio but I have had this side of the work running great. Recently the company put out a report on the state of the company and our office had some of the best numbers in the company and we are setup to have one of the best years in the company’s 22 year history. I like to think I am a big part of why our office is doing so well.
So we requested the owner and CFO of the company come up from the Long Island headquarters so we could discussion senior staffing. We told them I was leaving and what our thoughts were on how to replace me. Overall the conversations went well. But it was very intimidating to sit down with them and say that I am going to leave the company in several months. There is always the possibility they tell me to go right there and then. That could be a big blow to the cruising kitty.
It’s also a little like being present at your own funeral. You sit there and listen to people breakdown your good and not-so-good attributes as they determine how to replace the work you do. They ask you questions trying to get into your head and understand how I can balance the work I do.
Of course there was that moment where the owner of the company said he wished he could do this. Biting my tongue and not yelling at him that he has millions of dollars and could do it if he chose to was the toughest part of the whole day. We hear these types of response often and I find them very frustrating.
We are not independently wealthy. We don’t have trust funds or large savings accounts or any other type of cushion.
We have an affordable boat that we love. We have thoughtfully outfitted her. But, to steal a recent line from another cruiser/blogger, we have made the choice to live A Life Less Ordinary. This doesn’t happen by magic or accident. It has taken enormous thought and dedication to get to this point. It will take even more to get to the point of cutting the lines.
Interestingly as we near the endpoint in this part of our journey, only 163 days until we cut the lines, there has been a flood of reaffirming articles making their way around the interwebs. There was the piece from the Tiny House blog from Jody of Where the Coconuts Grow (linked above). “Out on the ocean everything is simple. Elizabeth noticed how obvious it became to her that we can always do with less.” A number of people on Facebook have been sharing the Elle article Why I Gave Up a $95,000 Job to Move To an Island and Scoop Ice Cream. Yup, doing that times two. Then my Dad shared an article from Fast Company entitled The Science of Why You Should Spend Your Money On Experiences, Not Things. “Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods. You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences.”