Sunday 25 April 2004

One Year Off Work

Today's my anniversary of quitting work and taking time off. The time has gone quickly and I haven't got as much done as I thought I might. Occasionally I get asked whether I'm bored or tired of not working. Nope! Not yet! It's true I've never spent so much time just by myself. The main thing I miss about work is the banter and general socialising with colleagues. It took several months to stop feeling like I should have a nine to five job and for the longest time, it felt very strange to go somewhere in the middle of a weekday. But I'm cured of that now.

It's been absolutely great reclaiming my own time back rather than selling it. It gives you a chance to slow done and figure out what's important to you. You rediscover all the old things that you once enjoyed and seek out things you've always been curious about. Relationships become more important. It's fantastic having more time for the children and being more involved with their lives. After all, there's no second chance for that.

Using the Internet, you can discover an endless stream of ways to spend your time. With all the things I find interesting, I have a long list of potential projects to undertake. There's no danger of getting bored that way.

Work offers you a community and in many cases, it's the most dominant community you participate in but I've come to realise it's often a pretty shallow community at best. It's demanding, rigid and not very forgiving. Large work places can be so impersonal. Still it's a difficult community to leave because your identity gets wrapped up in the work that you do. And work often leaves you with such little time for much else. It's a terrible waste.

Leaving work means leaving your prime community. So the challenge of not working is finding worthwhile communities to participate in that value your involvement. It feels good to commit your time to them and seems more like the way life should be lived.

I appreciate I've been very fortunate to have this time off. I do plan to go back to work but I'll be careful about who I work for and how I balance work life with the way I really want to spend my time.


  1. Happy anniversary!

  2. Hey, come on Ian. You and I both know that work was just a place for you to spend a few hours in to avoid day time telly :-)

  3. No, work was a way for me to surf the Internet without getting interrupted by the kids :-)