Monday, February 4, 2013

Making a decision, making a change

I made my decision.
I was faced with making a big decision, which I wrote about last week in a post about OCD and making decisions.
I am making a change in my work life.
Starting this week, I am lowering my work hours to 32 hours per week.
It may not seem like a big change, but for me, it’s huge.

As you may remember, I work as a newspaper reporter. My main beats are county government, the sheriff’s office and the courts.
I write about activities in local government, crimes when they occur, and the outcomes of some of those crimes in court.
Some of my days are very long, especially Tuesdays when we lay out the paper, which I also assist with.
If I have meetings in the evenings, it also makes for a long day.
Sometimes I feel like I miss the entire day in a blur because I’m wrapped up in making phone calls and conducting interviews, or I’m hunched over my computer writing a story.
I’m away from home more than I like, and I sometimes feel overwhelmed by what I have to do at work and by what I’d like to do at home.

I think this sense of being overwhelmed stems from several things, such as my temperament; my OCD, depression and anxiety; and my energy level.
It’s also affected by the nature of my job. There’s always another deadline looming ahead, another paper to plan for, another interview to conduct, more story ideas to generate. It’s easy to stay in a state of anxiety.

For a while now, I’ve been fighting the job. I’ve had a hard time getting up in the morning to go in to work. I’ve dreaded Mondays. I’ve basically lived for the weekends, and some weekends I have to work.

After I first got the idea for cutting my hours, I talked with my husband, then the newspaper’s publisher, then the editor. Then I thought some more and talked some more and asked more questions.
I prayed. I meditated.
I knew it would mean less money. Not a lot less per week, but it would add up over a year’s time.
Also, I’ve worked full time for many years. Being a full-time worker was part of my identity.
But things worked out. I made my decision. And I’m at peace with it.

Why is this a huge change for me?
It means more time.
I’ll have chunks of days or even whole days free from the confines of the job.
More time to do the writing that I want to do. To do more things at home. To perhaps start an editing business.
More time with Larry.
I hope with the step back, I’ll be able to enjoy my job more.
And I hope that I’ll feel less overwhelmed, more ready to tackle the mental health issues that affect me.
I’m so grateful that I’m able to do this now. I don’t want to take the opportunity for granted.

Have you ever made a change in your work life that had big effects on your life?

26 comments:

  1. I am so happy for you and what's to come with this big change. Good for you, Tina! I used to work 45+ hours for years, then went to a job where I worked 4days a wk for 10hrs a day, I just couldn't cope and went into hospital. I am lucky enough to be able to not have to work that way for the time being and taking this time to get better and try to learn more about how to get better. Changes are good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Yaya. I think it will be a good change. I'm glad that you're able to take this time to get better.

      Delete
  2. I also made the decision to reduce my hours. I had to, to allow me to remain in work. Reduced hours has meant I am more productive as I am now in such a better head space. Having more time away from work helped me put things in perspective! I hope it works well for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Clare. It sounds like you had some really good results from reducing your hours. I like what you said about being "in such a better head space." That's exactly how I feel.

      Delete
  3. Tina this sounds as if it is a very positive and beneficial change. Good for you! I made a change in my work life last fall (working 4 1/2 days instead of 5) and that extra half day gives me times to run my weekly errands.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Keith. I'm glad you, too, were able to make a positive change. Having a little time off during the week can really help.

      Delete
  4. Congratulations! It did sound like you had too much on your plate.

    In my last year in my corporate job, I cut back to 30 hours per week. It made a huge difference! Not only was I working less, but working fewer hours also changed how I looked at the job...I stopped being so hyper-responsible for everything that went on in the office. I came in, did my work, and went home when it was time. That was so freeing!

    These days I no longer work a job, but I can still take on too much at times. Last summer I spent two days canning tomatoes right before having surgery, and believe me, I shouldn't have spent that much time on my feet (though I am still enjoying the fruits of my labors -- yum). Staying balanced and out of overwhelm requires ongoing diligence. Hopefully you'll do better at that than I do!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Nadine. I hope I will experience the same thing you did when you cut your work hours: stop feeling hyper-responsible, which I tend to do.

      It is very easy for me to take on too much. I think of all the things I want to do and try to do it all right now--and, of course, I end up exhausted and burned out.

      Delete
  5. That is AWESOME news, Tina! I'm so excited for you! I think a reduction in hours sounds lovely ... and it will hopefully give you more time to devote to your memoir!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jackie, thank you. That is my plan--to give more time to my memoir. I want to give more of myself to it.

      Delete
  6. Oh this is very exciting! I hope you find some fun ways to fill your extra time!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Sounds like a good thing for you!

    ReplyDelete
  8. So proud of you for making this decision, Tina. It sounds like it is a good decision for many different reasons. When I went from working full-time to part-time, I wondered how I ever had the time to do all the things I needed/wanted to do while working forty hours a week. Congratulations on this change.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Janet, I appreciate it. I expect I will fill up my time quickly!

      Delete
  9. Good for you, Tina! I think it's awesome that you are making a decision to put your health first. When your hours are cut you will be surprised how quickly the hours will fill up! Many years ago I went down to 20 hours a week to spend more time with my child. It was a great decision.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sunny. I don't think I'll have a hard time finding things to fill up my time! I hope I am careful and intentional with how I spend the time, though.

      Spending more time with your child--a wonderful reason to cut your work hours!

      Delete
  10. I am super happy for you and hope this time you gain to do whatever it is you want to do, proves to be a real blessing in your life.
    I think I wrote about this in a blog post once, but I worked at an engineering firm for many years and was really burned out. We lived near a chocolate store and I used to always walk by and wish that I worked there. One day I said this to my husband and he told me that if it would make me happy I should just do it. I knew the pay would be alot less than what I was making but when I talked to the owners they said they would be able to pay me more if I would manage the store. It was still the least paying job I ever had, but it was by far the most fun working environment I had in my entire life. I cried when we moved and I had to leave that job so it was a really good decision.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Krystal, thank you for your kind words. And thank you for sharing the story of the chocolate store. It's a beautiful story.

      Delete
  11. Best of luck, and many, many blessing upon you in this new endeavor! I've love to go part-time myself, and my job would probably let me, but for now the timing doesn't feel "right." If you're at that place where it does, hallelujah! I think you'll find it takes a LOT of stress off of you. :-)

    And remember, it's not reversible...I'm sure if you found you didn't care for it, you could always go back. It sounds like your employers think a lot of you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jean, thanks for the kind words. I hope it relieves the stress--I think it will!

      Delete
  12. Congratulations, Tina! This is exciting news. I'm glad you made the decision and feel at peace with it. I didn't know you were a newspaper reporter, which I believe is one of the most difficult jobs there is. That constant feeling of pressure to meet your deadlines, I know I couldn't do it. I applaud you girl friend and I'm excited about the new endeavors that await you. You won't regret it. Keep us posted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Grace. I do feel a lot of pressure on the job, and I think the reduced hours will help with that.

      Delete
  13. I worked 32 hours for years. It was awesome! I volunteered a ton, rarely took vacation because I wasn't stressed, etc. (not saying this is how it has to work, it was also just a low stress time of my life). Working full time now is such a chore, and I've given myself a deadline for stopping it.

    Good for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Ann. I'm so glad to hear that the 32-hour-a-week schedule worked out so well for you. That inspires me! :-)

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time to leave comments. I enjoy reading them and appreciate them!

After much thought, I've implemented the policy of no anonymous comments. I have been hit by so much spam, and that seems the best way to stop it. I know that stops some of you from being able to easily comment. Please email me if you can't comment. I always want to hear from you!