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I put in my notice
yesterday on Friday. I’ll be unemployed by June.
How long did it take me to finally work up the courage to do this? Too long. This year’s hiring season is well underway. If I had left earlier, I would have maximized my chances of getting hired in 2015. Since I am leaving now, I have to plan on remaining out of work until next year. Fortunately, I am kinda good at planning.
Does that sound like a long time to go without income? Let me tell you, frugality and budgeting go a long way. Despite these facts:
- Working only 2.5 years since college,
- Paying off a car,
- Covering all my living expenses,
- Tithing 10% pre-tax, and
- Giving away thousands of dollars in charity
… I’ve still saved enough to live without income for a full year with minor lifestyle adjustments. I’ve plotted a worst-case scenario (assuming I don’t die or get a life-threatening disease, the land doesn’t get ravaged by catastrophe, etc) and I have 10 months to get by. If I do make significant lifestyle adjustments, like frequenting Goodwill, shopping at Aldi, moving to a cheaper apartment (or back in with my parents), terminating my Internet access, and cannibalizing my savings, self-insurance (that’s a whole topic right there), and charity/gift money, I can support myself without income for significantly longer; 18 months if I reduce my rent by $200, and nearly 3 years if I move in with my parents.
That’s nuts! But all it takes is this little secret: discover how to obtain happiness without spending money. Millennials already know that money doesn’t buy happiness; just take one step further (skipping over the nihilistic view that there is no happiness or purpose in life) and find some cost-free sources of happiness.
The only variables in my financial plans are very manageable: whether I’ll be able to postpone my final few car payments to my family and pay the cost of a high-deductible insurance policy (or paying the $325 fine at the end of the year). Thanks, Obama.
Of course, the goal of all this, as I said before, is to become employed as a front end developer where I make good money and work with smart, polite people doing something meaningful. (I’ll take any two of the above.) I’m looking for work during this entire period of unemployment. If something good comes along in, say, 3 weeks, I will take it. There’s only one thing better than learning on your own: getting paid for learning by doing.
Having said all that, no amount of trusting in the plan could keep my heart from racing wildly when I delivered my resignation letter to my manager. And the plan was equally unhelpful during the mild panic I suffered for the rest of the day (“I am now willingly unemployed. WHAT.”) Ultimately, The Plan®™ may be only deceiving me. As it is written in James 4:13-16:
Warning about Self-Confidence
Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil.
But by now the panic is giving way to excitement. I am stepping out to take hold of a better financial situation. I’m following through with what (I think) will place me in a better financial position in the long run, while regarding, as much as possible, the negative possibilities and pitfalls. I wish I had done this 3 months ago. Indeed, I wish I had done it 3 years ago, when I had just graduated from UNC. But, as the popular proverb goes: the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago; the second best time is now.
Therefore, if the Lord is willing and I continue to be alive, in two weeks I’ll start my full-time journey into the heart of front end developerness. (Two literary references in once sentence, whabam!)