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StorkNet Home > Parenting Channel > Working Mothers Cubby

Downsizing - Yourself
By Kenyatta Thomas
Last year, one of the goals I'd set for myself was to eventually either quit my job or go permanent part-time. I wrote down all the pros and cons, gave myself an outline . . . but shortly thereafter talked myself out of it.

The only problem . . . I was still unhappy.

Now I know in this time of involuntary corporate downsizing and layoffs, I should consider myself lucky to have a job . . . and I did . . . but I was still unhappy.

There was no growth for me, no challenge, and while I had job flexibility, FINALLY a child friendly boss, I still felt as though I was in the wrong place. I just had to think of some way I could ease my own restlessness, calm my husband's fears about quitting altogether (we did still need that extra income of mine), without blowing it all.

Then, one night, it hit me. I would downsize myself.

I immediately knew that there were things I could live without. Our company has a business casual dress code, so there was no need for me to continue buying new clothes or shoes every season. After 10 years of working in professional fields such as banking and government, I had enough shoes, suits, skirts and blouses to last a lifetime.

I put every store card on the dining room table, and cut them in half, making a mental note to double those payments and pay them off quickly.

My son is in daycare, so there is no way around paying for him to be in pre-school, but he WILL be starting kindergarten in another year, so that expense will soon be finished.

And so on . . . and so on. I went through all of my expenses with a critical eye, determining what I could live without, what were necessities, and one of the biggest expenses? Fast food.

It HAD to go. I could cook, and I wasn't . . . plain and simple. I had to get back to that stove!

My son's clothes . . . well . . . I can sew! I dragged my sewing machine back out of the closet, and while I don't sew everything, I knew I could sew enough to only really have to buy his shoes, sweater, and coats.

The last thing, after thinking out and then writing out my Personal Downsize plan, was to talk to my husband. I assured him that while I was NOT quitting totally, I would be able to cut back on my hours, cut out MY personal spending, and we would still be able to maintain things financially.

My boss was the final step, and for me, it was a big step. I had second thoughts all the way to her office. Could I really do this? Was I being selfish? Ungrateful?

I told my boss that I would like to cut back on my hours on a trial basis, go permanent part-time (check with your company policy to see if this is an option with your company). I was already set up to work from home on occasion, so if there was really a pressing need for me to do things outside the timeframe I had set for myself, then I could readily work from home.

She agreed, appreciating the fact that I'd thought out all the angles, came to her with a well-thought out plan.

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Downsizing yourself IS possible without putting yourself in the poor house, but it is different for everyone.

I had to do what was best for me, and I knew that with my son fast approaching school age, I wanted to be there for him. I wanted to be home, not sending him to after-school care when he got off the bus. But it required sacrifice, but not sacrificing as much as I thought.

In the coming months, I will be writing about other options, including Getting A Second Job, because in these tight economic times, being able to work from home or working part time is not an option for everyone. But the operative word is OPTIONS . . . and I hope to explore all of them, to show you what could possibly work for you if you are looking to change your current job situation.

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