This has been an unusual year for me. So how does it feel six months after I quit my job? It is not easy to describe. At the start of the year I had no clue I would quit my job by May 2015! But it happened. Initially I didn’t even try to make any sense of it. I am not sure if it makes sense even now but I am willing to talk.
I would be lying if I say I quit my job to travel more. I was already traveling a lot. I quit because it felt easier not going to work! I was not liking my job anymore, it became a drag. But I didn’t search for another job! And therein lies the catch.
It was not easy to travel the way I did with full time work. Managing leaves was next to impossible. Even if I would land at 3.00 am after crossing time zones, I would be at work at 9.30 am to save that one day’s leave. I didn’t mind it till work was fun. But when it didn’t remain fun, I started feeling tired.
I started resenting the fact that my first thought after an awesome media invite would be, “damn will I get leave?” I was invited by Jordan Tourism Board to cover Pope’s visit to their country and my first thought- “hell I have to ask for leave!” I would not feel happy immediately when I saw an invite however exotic it was!
When did the work become unbearable? I have no idea, it was a gradual process, it was not about any one thing, it was a sun total of many things which accumulated over the years!
So that is how I quit, I didn’t like my work, I was getting some fabulous opportunities to travel, so I told myself I will take a break for a year!
So how is it going? It is lots of fun in many ways but not financially. Let me get it out of the way first. I have roughly saved three year’s worth of salary before quitting. I am extremely risk averse. But this pile gives me some confidence to take it easy for a while. And I am not going to spend it on travel, not one bit out of it.
I am making about 1/5 of what I used to earn when I was working full time. I don’t get the jitters because my husband works full time. But without a doubt it feels bad to earn a fraction of what I used to earn. Per ummed per duniya kayam hai and I am no exception. But before you quit, think hard about it. How would you feel if you made only 1/5 of what you earned? Will it be enough?
Now coming to the better part, I never had so much time to myself in my life and it is a blessing!
I can go for long walks, I get up late every day, the bliss!
I am there when my daughter comes back from school when I am not traveling. She resents it as mama is the strict one but then we have a lot of fun too. A lot of studies get done as well! We go and play badminton together in the evening.
My husband still drops off my daughter to the school. I offered to do it but both of them turned me down firmly.
When I come back from a trip at 3.00 am now I sleep till 11.00 am in the morning.
I am less tired on the trips after traveling on a flight at night. Earlier I used to be on the verge of collapse when I missed out on a night’s sleep and the itinerary started almost immediately after landing! Not anymore. I can last for a day without sleeping through the night! So I enjoy my travels more!
I baked a mug cake today, it was fun for everyone at home. I never had time for these small things.
I would never attend a local event in the past on a weekday, as I had to save my leaves. I now happily attend such events all over the town! The mug cake idea came from such an event!
I am still not looking for long term travel, as my daughter is small. I anyway like coming back to my home and my family!
I can go shopping on a weekday when malls are almost empty and it is such a bliss!
I can go and stay at my sister’s place during weekdays! The joys of being jobless are boundless!
I don’t have to ask anyone for leave before accepting a trip! I can happily go on a trip that starts on a Monday!
So after six months I do not want to go back to work. I am actually quite happy even though I am earning much less.
But there is one bit that makes no sense! And that is a piece of paper, my Ph.D. degree. I really toiled for it. Nothing else gnaws at my mind but this bit of paper. It constantly questions me, how can you be happy?
It makes no sense to leave it all after working so hard for it! But then nothing much made sense this year anyway. I would be truly happy if this piece of paper would not nag me endlessly.
I now say I don’t want to go back to work. But then I would have also said no if someone asked whether I was planning to quit my job earlier this year!
Hence I am keeping all my options open for 2016 but I secretly hope that I would not need to go back to work, at least not in 2016. And that piece of paper will make peace with me.
It seems to be the flavor of the decade to quit the job to travel! It may work for some and it may not work for some. I belong to the second category. I do think of quitting but it is not to follow my passion. I am able to travel right now. So why quit my job? I work as a Professor at a private college in Gurgaon. And here are 5 reasons why I did not quit my job to travel.
5. That Damn Ph.D: I did my Ph.D. a long time back. I did it from IIT Kanpur. I worked a lot for it. I published, went to conferences and generally enjoyed slogging for it. I know there is something wrong with my head! Now whenever I get the bug to quit, and I will freely admit that I do get it, a bulb goes off in my head which says, “What and leave all that hard work behind?” I have not been able to quell that nagging voice in my head that tells me to hang on, though it is getting weaker with every passing year.
4. My Kid is Small: I have a daughter who studies in primary school. I already travel a lot. But there are times when I have to say no to some sponsors as I can not suit the dates. So far the numbers, thankfully have been small. If I quit, I suspect, I will travel even more, which would mean that my daughter and I will see even less of each-other. I am not willing for this trade off. Or let me say I do not wish to add to it, as I anyway travel a lot. Which takes me exactly to the next point.
3. I Anyway Travel a Lot: I have already done 17 trips this year. I was lucky that two major trips came when it was easier for me to take leaves. I was invited to Finland when it was the Holi break and to Jordan when the exams had started so there were no classes to take. It is easier for me to travel on long trips when there is a summer vacation in the college. But the vacations are over now, I have to be content with extended weekend trips, till it is time for winter break!
2. My Risk Appetite: Everyone has a certain type of risk appetite. I am quite risk averse. I do not see what I gain by chucking my perfectly reasonable job! That is how my head is wired. And it is no good arguing with it.
1. Money: There is not a pressure on me to work as we are a double income family, but an extra income never hurts. Also, my husband threatens more than me, to quit his job! So in the end both of us decided to hang on till the kid goes to college. I know, such excuses we give!
In fact, my salary funds the family trips to Hong Kong and Maldives. It lets me go trekking in Nepal, which I love to do. I would love to make more money from blogging/travel writing. But as of now I do not see a good revenue model for me. Coupled with 4 and 5 I am in no hurry to quit my job. I want to quit my job eventually because I get extremely tried of commuting, I wish to quit so that I could watch more sunsets. But I do not really need to quit to travel more, I already travel a lot!
I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quit my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!
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