Living or surviving?


Change is in the works. I made a step of faith into the unknown this week, and resigned from the full time job that I’d held since I was a fresh graduate, our family’s bread and butter for the past seven years. I start at the new place in a couple of week’s time – basically doing the same thing I was before (I’m an auditor), but this time I’ll be working for the Victorian government. Yep, gonna be earning tax dollars for a change!

The risk comes in that, generally speaking, moves to the public sector tend to be one-way, so if say two or three years down the road, I have a change of heart, it would be rather tricky trying to hop back into the private sector.

While I am grateful for the experiences and lessons learned while working for a large accounting firm (and the chance to meet and work with some really awesome individuals!), I am not one of those fortunate and dedicated people who have managed to carve a living out of something they are passionate about and enjoy. It’s no secret that work life for me has been meh at best over the past couple of years.  Increasing pressures due to a tough economy have meant that working hours have slowly crept upwards (and no, we don’t get paid overtime), and the acknowledgement that most employees have a life outside of working hours has slowly diminished.

While the working conditions and culture haven’t been great, I have to say, of all my potential career options as an accountant, I find this type of work the most tolerable. Moving from client to client is definitely a preference to being stuck at the same desk 52 weeks a year. So, my hopes are that this move will allow me to keep doing what I’m doing without missing out on my family life, and running of course.

When meeting people for the first time, one of the frequently asked icebreaker questions tends to be “So, what do you do for a living?”. The upcoming change in jobs, and the circumstances leading to my departure from my employer for the past 7 years has led me to ponder as to whether my response to that question has been all that accurate.

I am an accountant / auditor by trade, but is that what I do for a living? Sure, the job puts food on the table, pays the bills and, as I said earlier, I find the work tolerable, maybe enjoying it a little even. But is that what living is? For the past couple of years, I have had to drag myself out of bed in the mornings, and consciously suppress the feeling that I was missing out on E growing up whenever I had to work late and not see him for days on end. After a long day, it would be typical to just come home, have a shower and plop in to bed with minimal interaction with J.

The job took its toll on running too. In general, I managed to squeeze in all my sessions, but at the cost of sleep, which in turn led to injury and down time, the frustration amplified when sitting in front of the screen checking numbers and writing reports that only a couple of people in the world really cared about. Those hours between setting foot in the office and leaving are probably the ones where I feel least alive, and yet they occupy the majority of my week.

On the other hand, the moments when I feel most alive – playing mindless games with J&E, singing praises to God, and yes, of course, going for a long, long run in the bush, far away from the chaos of urban life – these are the moments I cherish and look forward to each and every day, through which I refresh myself mentally, spiritually and physically.

wpid-wp-1423317240635.jpegI suppose work does contribute in its own unorthodox way. Without it, maybe I wouldn’t appreciate or treasure the good times as much. I have a job as an accountant, but if you ask me what I do for a living, well,  I am a father, a husband, a christian and a runner. While those things don’t pay the bills, for me, the returns for time spent being any one of those things is just immeasurable.

What do you do for a living?



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4 Responses to Living or surviving?

  1. I went from an accountancy-type thing to an income-free good-life thing. Predictably, that was a catastrophe money-wise. I’ll never forget the shame of having to send my kids to school in trousers that were too short (shudder).

    I’m now working 20 hours per week in a school. I do everything from clean the toilets to chop down trees. The money’s only just enough to keep the kids well-clothed, but the work is honest – which is a world away from the insolvency trade.

    Best bit is – I do a very early shift and I’m done by 9:30 am. I can spend the rest of the day running/swimming/cycling/gardening/eating biscuits etc.

    Work to live every time for me. Good luck!

    • That’s the big trade isn’t it? Time and money.. I do respect the courage and/or determination it must have taken to make a risky move like that – I certainly don’t have the guts to make such a leap at this time, mainly out of concern for my family if things don’t pan out. I’m glad it’s working out in the end for you, and I am a tad jealous!

  2. Jill says:

    Congrats on the job change! A bit stressful, of course, but it sounds like a well-thought out move. All the best.

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