Sunday, April 20, 2008

On the Road To a Downshift: 10 years, 8 months and Counting

I've blogged before about our plan to downshift in a bit more than 10 years.  What's interesting is the plan first includes spending more time working.

That doesn't mean I plan to be at work until 9 pm every night so that I can make more money at my consulting job.  Hardly.  While I will stay when there is a need, working those kind of hours on a regular basis can literally pull all the enjoyment out of life, so I try to avoid it.

My approach is to grow my skills, and my blog.  

The blog part is easy (in theory).  I'm working towards reaching a point where I'm blogging consistently 5 days a week, treating this like a full-time job.  That's a challenge with all the other demands on my time, but it truly is one of the best things I do.  I'm working up an article library to help me achieve this goal over the next few months. 

In addition, I'm working on getting my blog more attention, and more participation.  The more questions I can answer, comments that give me ideas for articles, and the more other blogs reference mine, the better the blog will get.  

As for my career, I've recently been assessing my skills, and asking others for feedback on them. I like what I do now, but I'm looking for more challenges and opportunities.  I took the first step towards incorporating my skills into my paid career by sending a question about a particular skill I have (networking), along with some ideas I had been given on how to leverage it, to a recruiter whom I work with.  We are having dinner next week to discuss what opportunities I might take. 

In doing some forecasting, I need to keep my income steady and at the current level in order to accommodate some of our goals until 2011.  That's less than 3 years away, which is a manageable period of time.  At first, I looked at that with a pressured, stressed mindset 'Oh what if something bad happens in the next 2 years and 8 months'.  Then I realized - this is not bad.  It's my first window of 'what if'.   As in 'What if I took a different job, closer to home.  I might make less, but I might need less too'.  Or 'What if things are looking even better than I have planned?'

In 2 years and 8 months, I'd like to be supplementing my income by writing semi-professionally.  I hardly expect that my writing income will replace my current income, but as it supplements, I may have some good choices to make.  So I'm starting to look forward to 2011 as a time where I'll have some good options in front of me.

In the meantime, my husband and I will keep plugging at our goals.  I'll keep writing, I'll keep investigating how to grow my career, and I will keep looking for ways to consume less.  

I'm still a little worried about keeping my income level steady for the next few years.  But all I can do is keep working hard, find new ways to be valuable to my clients, and look for opportunities whenever they come.

Thomas Edison said "Most people miss out on opportunities because they are dressed in overalls and look like hard work."  I have no intention of missing any opportunity that comes my way if it gets me to my goals.  

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