Other People’s Bad Decisions No Longer Steal My Time: Life After Corporate
Morning walk and a phone call.
I was wandering Williamsburg this morning. In my new town where it was so quiet and only a few locals were around getting some steps in or taking pictures, while the people that share the stories of the past were setting up for the day.
My new life. My life after corporate.
Photo by Vojtech Bruzek on Unsplash
It was a perfect time to chat with an old friend, so I called. She was telling me how her upcoming plans (and her previous weekend) were hit with a “work thing” – someone on her board got caught up in drama and now everyone had to dedicate hours to resolving his bad decision and making the company look “right” in the public eye.
And it occurred to me as the sun was shining and the views were making me smile… I found yet one more benefit to getting out of the 9-5: other people’s bad decisions no longer steal my time. This is life after corporate.
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Breaking it down.
Professional freedom isn’t simply the lack of hours spent on “meeting” about how to handle a statement, an action or simply, a bad decision made by a boss, colleague, or board member.
Because let’s be honest, the impact of these things run all the way through a company. Big or small, in corporate life, we deal with fixing, solving, communicating, and rebuilding after such an event.
Photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash
There are 3 things I value about professional freedom and owning my time:
1 It is also about health.
Not trying to get to “woo-woo” on y’all but one of the first things I noticed after being laid off (like within hours, even minutes) was how light I felt. And I felt myself being less stressed and much healthier, not sad, grieved, or depressed like many people I talked to expected me to feel. I felt excellent and that's a tribute to life after corporate!
2 Family comes first.
Always. I’ve said that as a boss and as an employee. We all have times that we need time. If (God forbid) something happens in my family, I do not need to ask for time off, figure out who will take care of my workload, set my autoresponder, reschedule meetings/calls or worse yet: jump on them from wherever I am taking care of my family situation.
No more. I am in charge of my calendar and my business goals as a blogger working to attain the 4-Hour Workweek lifestyle that I am designing in my life after corporate.
Photo by Alessandro Bianchi on Unsplash
3 Time is not just about money- it is more important than that.
As a GenXer, I’m incredibly cognizant of how precious time is and how few my years are left on this earth, and each day it is clear how I want to spend that time.
I will give you this: some people (and this may be you) LOVE your job, at least, what you do. I loved many aspects of mine. But the line (for me) is drawn in the ability to own my time.
An important one I mentioned earlier: if God forbid, my parents need me, I want to drop everything and be there, not ask for time off.
And, likewise, if I want to go somewhere, for no reason at all, I don’t want to worry about Zoom calls, project deadlines, or a travel schedule.
I believe you can do what you love, but on your own schedule and from wherever you want to do it. And no one else’s “urgent” or “crisis” or bad decision should impact that.
Photo by Jono Hirst on Unsplash
There is always a crisis, then no one cares.
A good friend and former colleague told me about that saying- something like will anyone care in 5 hours, 5 weeks 5 months, 5 years (at least that’s how I remember it!). In context, it was during a discussion about some stressful corporate BS situation that was literally making me sick over-analyzing and trying to figure out how to handle. And the hours spent on perfecting my work to do so.
The answer: maybe in 5 hours, but certainly not the rest.
More work, new projects, new crises, and manipulations on the corporate climb would replace it in less than 5 weeks. And likely it would never be remembered or considered again. This started me on a whole new outlook, but the reality is the stress of situations that arose never really were eliminated, I simply had a method to shift my mindset under duress.
All of it still gets internalized and manifests in your health, even if you have a temporary attitude adjustment. At least that’s what I believe and have experienced. And we are back to my realization that with professional freedom there is better health.
But what about that stable paycheck?
I am here to tell you that corporate paycheck is a security blanket, not actual security. With mergers, buyouts, and acquisitions, how stable is that paycheck? I was not shocked when I was laid off due to Covid budget constraints.
But let me be clear: it isn’t just about 2020. Corporate life is a constant evolution of C-Suite priorities, mergers, buyouts, and acquisitions. My guess is you know someone, possibly yourself, who has been a casualty of some version of a layoff like I was.
And, quite possibly, due to someone’s bad decision, right? Or “budget.” Or restructuring. Or simply cleaning house. Cleaning house is a term used both in and out of corporate. My life in politics is a great example, new administration, new appointees, and boom. Jobs aren’t secure.
Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash
Professional freedom is financial freedom because you are in control.
I’m not sugar-coating it.
You need to have a plan in place, like my friend Michelle is working on, whether you choose to leave your 9-5 position or someone makes that decision for you. This blog has (and will continue to have) several posts on budget and financial planning for professional freedom including this one where I asked 5 questions that were answered by 12 people from tax preparers to entrepreneurs.
Ultimately, when you are in charge of your business, you are in control of your financial future. That is stability on a whole different level.
Call to action: Ask yourself these questions and then TAKE action.
· Has anyone’s bad decision stolen time with your family or friends?
· Are you willing to let the bad decisions of others impact you?
· How stable is your paycheck?
· Is time worth more than money?
Join the Ditching the 9-5 Facebook community where you can ask questions, get inspiration, ideas, and resources to gain control of your time, finances, and future.