I have had some great jobs and some great employers in my career so far; but, no matter how good any of them were, I was still always finding myself restless and feeling trapped. If you can relate to this in any way, you may find it compelling to learn why I decided to make less and live more.
It starts with a journal entry that I made in my diary on February 15, 2010, as I sat in a parking lot on my lunch break dreading going back to work (despite the fact that I had a great job, working for a great employer). Little did I know I was planting a seed for something wonderful that would soon sprout. Before I begin, I do want to let you know that my faith is a big part of my life and therefore is a part of this story. It is not meant in any way to push my beliefs on anyone; but, I cannot leave out the One who is responsible for this gift. Hopefully nobody will be offended by that; but, if you are, simply stop reading now.
Excerpt from my Journal
“Something has been weighing heavy on my heart and although I have been praying about it consistently, I don’t feel that the answer has come to me yet. I feel that I am a prisoner to someone else’s schedule, and unfortunately, that schedule doesn’t work in my life. Here are a few reasons that apply: I only get to spend nine hours per work week with the children that God gave me to raise, yet I spend 60 hours per week preparing for and computing to work and actually working. Since my limited amount of time to spend with them each week is so precious, and because I am exhausted by the time they go to bed, if not before, my chores all get pushed off to the weekend, robbing me of time with them. To make matters worse, I only get to see my daughter every other weekend. By the time I pick the kids up, they are hungry, tired, and whiney; which, if I wasn’t already hungry, tired, and whiney myself, I am by the time I get home with them, making the little bit of time we do get to spend together somewhat unpleasant at best.
While I am trying my best to stay healthy, my inability to workout at prime times is taking its toll. I can’t workout in the morning, because I need to be to work for 7:30, and I have no access to childcare before 7:00, Not to mention, I am not willing to sacrifice anymore sleep, as I am already exhausted a majority of the time, and getting up at my current 5:45 AM is crazy enough, in my opinion. I have tried to workout during my lunch hour; however, by the time I get there, change two times, and get back to work, I only get a 30 minute workout at best, and that needs to include a warm up and a cool down. Plus, if I am on a roll with something at work, I don’t always like to take a lunch. It also interferes with any errands I need to run, because lunch is the only convenient time I have to run them, without having to drag the kids in and out of every place. Having a two year old that likes to rebel against the car seat makes this an extremely annoying endeavor. Evenings are not the time for me to be going to the gym, because it would cut in to the pitiful amount of time I have with my husband and kids, and who has the energy for a really great workout after dinner anyhow…certainly not me. Also, all of the fitness classes that I enjoy are always in the middle of the workday.
I feel like I am always breaking Lexi’s heart, because I can’t do the things that some other moms can do such as: helping out in the classroom, chaperone field trips, eat lunch with her, etc. Plus, many of the fun activities for kids in the community take place during the day, and we can never take part in them unless I take vacation time. No offense to anyone, but two weeks of vacation time isn’t nearly enough for all of the days off school, fun activities, neglected work around the house, and god forbid, an actual vacation.
All I want is the courtesy of letting me decide how I am going to accomplish all of the items of my day, both work related and otherwise. A typical day probably won’t look much different, but the atypical days will be what brings my career and my motherhood from ‘good’ to ‘great!’ I know there is a way to have a family and a career without feeling like one has to sacrifice one for the other, and I am determined to bring this innovation to reality.”
That was my journal entry in 2010. Fast forward to June, 2011. I asked my employer if I could reduce my hours to 30 hours per week, to try to get more time. Originally, I was told that I could do that, but then about a week before it was supposed to happen, I got called into the office and was told that they were not going to take any duties off of my plate. To me, that was a nice way of saying, “Either stay full time, or…..find another job;)” It sounds unpleasant; but, honestly it was the biggest favor that great man ever did for me, as you will see later.
My response was that I was not going to stay full time, so, he very nicely said to me, “Okay, then we will work on transitioning you out of the organization.” He allowed me until the afternoon to think about it and let him know what my decision was.
I went back to my desk, and honestly, I didn’t even give it any thought. I just dove back into my work as if the conversation had never happened. Normally, after a conversation like that, my focus would be depleted and I would keep replaying the conversation in my head over and over again, but not this time. All of a sudden, I was called back into his office and had to make a decision. It felt so incredibly right at that moment to just resign and give my notice. The only thing that wasn’t right about it, is that I did not ask or discuss any of this with my husband, I just went ahead and did it (which by the way I do not recommend, as it did not go over well).
I did decide to quit and walk away from my career temporarily. My son was three years old at the time. He was my youngest, and he was going to be starting kindergarten in two years. I really just wanted to have the opportunity to see what it was like to do the “mom thang,” and be able to be there for my kids. I had no idea how this was going to go or how we were going to make it financially. It was a complete leap of faith, yet it felt very comfortable for me and I took it.
I dove into my role as stay-at-home mom for a couple of years, and I loved that, but, I was constantly looking for things to do that would keep my mind stimulated where my passion lies, which is working with numbers. I started doing the books for a friend who has rental properties during this time, and I was doing it from home. It was very nice, it was convenient and I really liked it.
Fast forward now to July, 2013, my youngest is heading off to 4K, and I am wondering what I am going to do. Sitting around and eating Bon-Bons and watching soap operas is not really an option. Besides, I really don’t think I would be happy doing that, but I knew that I needed to do something. Do you remember the seed I planted when I wrote the journal entry in 2010? Well, it was about to sprout, and I had no idea. There was a spiritual gifting class being offered at my church. I took the class and I discovered that my strongest spiritual gift was financial stewardship, defined by investmentnews.com as someone who “is committed to being a point of inspiration for moral, ethical and prudent decision-making,” where finances are concerned.
Having always been an accountant, and loving numbers and math, I wasn’t surprised about what the gift was; however, I was surprised that it was a gift from God. I had no idea that having that kind of talent was actually a gift from the Holy Spirit. Once I found that out, it opened up so many doors for me because it made me realize, “Wow! I do have a purpose and I can use this gift to fulfill that purpose.” It drove home Epesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
At the same time that I was taking this class, and making all of these revelations, I got a phone call out of the blue from a company in Utah, who said “Have you been thinking about starting up an accounting business?” Flabbergasted, I said, “Yes, how did you know?” I am sure I had probably been doing internet searches, and they probably got my name from that, but their reply was, “Well, we’re not really sure, we just get leads from an organization and then we follow up on those leads.” I did wind up hiring them because they were a business consulting firm that helped individuals start up businesses, especially ones in the accounting field. (A shout-out to David Sherwood and Brent Middleton – thank you so much for all you did because five years plus later, things are going very well)!
Brent and David gave me all of the tools that I would need so I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel, including some forms to get started, and they taught me all about networking and how networking can grow your business at little to no cost. I joined a couple of networking groups in my area, and from there, Prosperity Bookkeeping was born.
I got my first few clients, and it’s been growing ever since. I now have four part-time employees, and I couldn’t be happier.
For any of you out there who could relate to any part of this, I guess the moral of this story is, when we are engaging in work that we were created to do, things just seem to fall into place more easily. If you are struggling and you’re just feeling like you’re not in the right place, even though you might have a good job or you’re working for a great employer, but something feels off, don’t be afraid to do some exploration. Start thinking about what your talents are and how they could be used to make the world a better place. Maybe it means starting a business, maybe not. Maybe it just means making a career change, but definitely listen to your heart, because it certainly can pay off. When you are feeling disengaged, begin to write those thoughts down, or put those thoughts on paper. You never know, you could be birthing something wonderful!
Oh, and by the way, after five years of being in business, I am no longer making less; but, I am definitely living more!