Downshifting

A chance to meet up with friends and have a chat - a general space with the freedom to talk about anything.
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Carltonian Man
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Re: Downshifting

Post: # 177927Post Carltonian Man
Fri Nov 20, 2009 1:31 pm

Hi LGL

I packed in my job in March of this year and can just imagine what you must be putting yourself through. If you decide to downshift the waters may well be stormy for a while and you might find resistance (or resentment) from the most unexpected quarter. In my case all offending parties said later they would change their working arrangement without hesitation if they could, so perhaps a bit of jealous knee-jerking there.. It didn't last long.

In explaining my current situation to others I vary my description to suit the situation, it's a chance to have a little fun. If it's to someone I worked with at some time I say I'm retired (I've just turned 49). If it's to a sales-person (cold call, time share etc) I say I'm unemployed. If it's to friends I say I'm a kept man, housewife, sofa-loafer or setee pilot. And finally if I want to impress someone I tell the truth and explain that I'd had enough of my job and simply jumped ship. That one usually knocks them for six.

It's worth bearing in mind we go to work to improve our quality of life. If your life isn't being improved as much as you feel it should it could be time to re-think. I'm really glad I did, loads worse off for money but so much richer in life. :sunny:

Best of luck :flower:

Martin

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Re: Downshifting

Post: # 178035Post JillStephens7
Sat Nov 21, 2009 1:34 pm

Hello LGL, it sounds like you know what's right for you and that's the first step to making it happen so good luck.

A few years ago I loved my job but was really frazzled and felt a lot of the bits of me I liked best were getting lost.

I left my job and did some temp work for a while. Then I went back working in a similar job but in a much less stressful environment (from a teaching assistant in a struggling secondary school with kids with behaviour problems to primary school with glitter)!

Then I reduced my hours. Initially I qualified & started teaching meditation & relaxation to kids part-time to make up the hours .., I now realise that was because I wasn't comfortable with saying I just wanted to work less (as the only person at work without children and already getting 13 weeks a year holiday)!

Now I work about 25 (still too many)! hours a week (and only about 3 hours unpaid overtime a week compared to the 15 I was doing). I qualified to do Indian Head massage and now intermittantly do that as a volunteer with adults with learning difficulties. I love it.

There's only so many times people can ask why you've reduced your hours - I initially blamed my OHs business but then just admitted I find it hard work to be in school all week! After 1 1/2 yrs there's nothing left for people to ask. I do my job better because I'm more centred and so more creative. I am more valued because I'm there less.

I manage to do things like go to the bank now, as I can go when town's quieter and so less overwhelming. I also do yoga when I get home most nights instead of working at the computor. I love working with kids but get overwhelmed by being around 450 + people who know my name everyday. With some space it seems a stupendously brave career for someone as quiet & sensitive as me, so I congratulate myself on my success in doing it at all.

I can't see the whole picture of where I want to be yet but with more space, get more clarity.

So my old friends are lecturers, IT specialists, web designers or on senior management teams and go on holiday twice a year and have i-pods and earn 40k. If I tried that I'd start drinking and then spontaneously combust and so no point worrying about it. I just want to make vegetable soup and wear my wellies every day and my friends love me for being Jill

Sorry, I do ramble on! Best wishes : )

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Re: Downshifting

Post: # 178037Post Green Aura
Sat Nov 21, 2009 2:06 pm

Well done all of you, I think being able to turn your backs on the trappings (perfect word that) of success in modern society is amazing.

I, too, gave up my "career". After nearly 30 years in the NHS I'd had enough. Even going part-time couldn't make it bearable.
I am more valued because I'm there less.
This definitely didn't apply to me. I didn't work on team-meeting days and often found out days or weeks after major decisions had been made that affected me and/or my clients. So the relief of only working 2 days a week was tempered by the added stress of not knowing what my job was from week to week.

I'm now self-employed, running a little shop in a craft village selling the cosmetics, soaps and crocheted/ knitted items that I make. It's a bit weird as I work seven days a week for six months and then none for the other six. The pressure is on, of course, to make enough money in the time I'm open to last a year, but it's self-imposed pressure and I set the standards - which are high. Another part of the stress in my previous life was about struggling to maintain a level of care that I found acceptable, with all the restrictions that kept getting added.

I'm very lucky, I live on site so can tend my garden, cook, do housework (OK - I'm lying about the housework. But I could if I wanted :lol: ), have coffee with friends and still be at work :lol: And my OH even runs the shop for me if I need to go out!

So do the sums, have a think about what you want, let it mull for a little while, then grab the opportunity with both hands.
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

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Re: Downshifting

Post: # 178042Post snapdragon
Sat Nov 21, 2009 3:55 pm

Go for it
I wish I'd had the option ten years ago when I had more energy.
I took voluntary redundancy after 27 years with the same employer - although i could have stayed and turned up at work with nothing to do until they found me another position, i took the leap (a year ago-just as the recession 'bit'). :drunken: Have to admit I would love to be partially employed just to speak to people occasionally without having to go into a shop first :(
My dear friend has it just right, a day a week helping in a friends shop where she has an abiding interest, some voluntary work for a favoured charity, and short term contracts for another of her interests - perfect :flower:
Say what you mean and be who you are, Those who mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind
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Re: Downshifting

Post: # 178053Post Rosendula
Sat Nov 21, 2009 4:34 pm

Another 'go for it' vote here. I had a job that was meant to be 30 hours a week but was really about 40, and although I loved the job, it was quite stressful and when was pregnant I ended up taking 9 weeks off due to stress. I gave the job up when I had my little girl - now 3.5 years old. At first we continued our lives like we had before, but the savings started to run out and I began to think I'd have to get another job. Then OH suffered some health difficulties and we were faced with a big decision - him give up work and me work full-time, both go part time, or do something radical. So we did something radical :wink: . He went part-time and I didn't take on another job :shock: . I had already taken on one allotment, and we decided to increase to two and overhaul the garden. We went back to homebrewing (which we had given up years ago when I took on the job I spoke of), and I taught myself to cook meals from scratch and bake bread and things - something I didn't think I was capable of! We've never looked back.

Because we don't work as many hours, we don't need as many holidays.

Because we have the time to grow and make our own food, we don't need to go to the stupormarkets as often, saving money not just on the food, but on impulse purchasing and petrol, and also saving us lots of time.

Because I don't go out to work I save money on bus fares, smart clothes, cream buns, money in jars for gifts for colleagues, impulse purchases of sweets and drinks on the way to and from work, etc., etc.

No-one thinks twice about me not earning because I'm a woman and bringing up a small child, but for OH it's a bit different. His colleagues are all really jealous, and many asked him for advice on how they too could go part time. He's happier in himself, and they can see that. He doesn't worry about money any more, even though we have so much less of it. He won't be messed around by his bosses any more because the job isn't that important to him. Mostly, people are jealous, and they admit it and want to know more.

I do sometimes feel awkward by the fact that I am not earning, but I tell people we are partly self-sufficient. The response is ALWAYS, "Oh, like The Good Life". Yeah!

Ooh, that was a ramble wasn't it? :oops:
Rosey xx

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Re: Downshifting

Post: # 178076Post Thomzo
Sat Nov 21, 2009 9:39 pm

lovelygreenleaves wrote:Do you find that people think you're lazy? I know I'm worrying too much about what other people think but it's hard not to!!
They soon realise I'm not when I start talking about all the things I've done. One person did say something about not working so I pointed out that I wasn't claiming anything in benefits and I was leaving a job free for someone else who needed it.

To be honest, if they still don't respect you after all that, then they aren't worth bothering with.

Zoe
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Re: Downshifting

Post: # 178084Post MuddyWitch
Sat Nov 21, 2009 10:27 pm

LGL,

If 'people' accuse you of being lazy, invite them 'round for a day; then ask them to dig over a bed, plant out seedlings, chop fire wood, plan a lesson for your offspring that you HE, bake a loaf or three, walk the dogs, clean the stove, hand wash 'smalls', forage for something and, in the evening to relax, knit a dish cloth.

It cured my brother!!!

There's no such thing as a free lunch, but there is such a thing as a guilt-free lunch!

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Re: Downshifting

Post: # 178254Post Susie
Mon Nov 23, 2009 4:48 pm

Because I don't go out to work I save money on bus fares, smart clothes, cream buns, money in jars for gifts for colleagues, impulse purchases of sweets and drinks on the way to and from work, etc., etc.
Yes, this is very true, I am astonished in retrospect how much I spent on stuff like this, + also things to make me feel better about not living the life I wanted (and it doesn't work!). I think if you are not very careful (and I wasn't, I was too tired) a lot of your salary can get sucked into compensating for you not having any free time to do anything yourself. Which I think is easier to deal with if you really value the work you are being paid for (or the fact of doing it), less easy if you value the things you could be doing if you had more time!

I downshifted in July (and it is a very, very long story, which I will spare you :wink: ), and I'm not working at the moment (although I wouldn't rule out doing part time/ freelance stuff in the future.) I would say if you can afford it go for it, you'll never look back. It's not necessarily about doing less (although doing less is fine!), it's also about putting your energy into achieving things you think are important and care about. Also:
To be honest, if they still don't respect you after all that, then they aren't worth bothering with.
Definitely.
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Re: Downshifting

Post: # 178273Post lovelygreenleaves
Mon Nov 23, 2009 7:12 pm

JillStephens7 wrote: So my old friends are lecturers, IT specialists, web designers or on senior management teams and go on holiday twice a year and have i-pods and earn 40k. If I tried that I'd start drinking and then spontaneously combust and so no point worrying about it. I just want to make vegetable soup and wear my wellies every day and my friends love me for being Jill
This made me smile! I don't want 40k or an ipod either, give me vegetable soup and wellies any day! :lol:

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Re: Downshifting

Post: # 178315Post MKG
Mon Nov 23, 2009 11:05 pm

I've become fascinated by this thread. I wonder why we all seem to think of it as DOWNshifting - perhaps that's the problem with people's perceptions. It isn't actually down at all, is it? Sidestepping, maybe, and there is an ishy argument to say it's an upgrade - you'll certainly get a better quality of life. Dropping out doesn't do it - that has the lower connotation too. Getting off the train at the pretty rural station rather than continuing to the big city is apt - but far too long.

Anyone think of a better phrase?

Mike
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Re: Downshifting

Post: # 178317Post lovelygreenleaves
Tue Nov 24, 2009 12:58 am

MKG wrote:I've become fascinated by this thread. I wonder why we all seem to think of it as DOWNshifting - perhaps that's the problem with people's perceptions. It isn't actually down at all, is it? Sidestepping, maybe, and there is an ishy argument to say it's an upgrade - you'll certainly get a better quality of life. Dropping out doesn't do it - that has the lower connotation too. Getting off the train at the pretty rural station rather than continuing to the big city is apt - but far too long.

Anyone think of a better phrase?

Mike
Good point Mike! I like this:
MKG wrote:Getting off the train at the pretty rural station rather than continuing to the big city
I'll have a think about a shortened version! :sunny:

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Re: Downshifting

Post: # 178384Post sara
Tue Nov 24, 2009 3:11 pm

hello

you need to do what makes you happy as long as you can pay your own bills etc it is up to you how you live . life in a stressful job is hell(i work for NHS) ! who cares what people think , the proudest thing i did was have my baby . balance is everything put yourself firstx let us know what you are doing and how you get along with your downshifting it is a brave thing to do to go against the tide but intereasting and exciting x

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Re: Downshifting

Post: # 178385Post sara
Tue Nov 24, 2009 3:16 pm

Rosendula wrote:Another 'go for it' vote here. I had a job that was meant to be 30 hours a week but was really about 40, and although I loved the job, it was quite stressful and when was pregnant I ended up taking 9 weeks off due to stress. I gave the job up when I had my little girl - now 3.5 years old. At first we continued our lives like we had before, but the savings started to run out and I began to think I'd have to get another job. Then OH suffered some health difficulties and we were faced with a big decision - him give up work and me work full-time, both go part time, or do something radical. So we did something radical :wink: . He went part-time and I didn't take on another job :shock: . I had already taken on one allotment, and we decided to increase to two and overhaul the garden. We went back to homebrewing (which we had given up years ago when I took on the job I spoke of), and I taught myself to cook meals from scratch and bake bread and things - something I didn't think I was capable of! We've never looked back.

Because we don't work as many hours, we don't need as many holidays.

Because we have the time to grow and make our own food, we don't need to go to the stupormarkets as often, saving money not just on the food, but on impulse purchasing and petrol, and also saving us lots of time.

Because I don't go out to work I save money on bus fares, smart clothes, cream buns, money in jars for gifts for colleagues, impulse purchases of sweets and drinks on the way to and from work, etc., etc.

No-one thinks twice about me not earning because I'm a woman and bringing up a small child, but for OH it's a bit different. His colleagues are all really jealous, and many asked him for advice on how they too could go part time. He's happier in himself, and they can see that. He doesn't worry about money any more, even though we have so much less of it. He won't be messed around by his bosses any more because the job isn't that important to him. Mostly, people are jealous, and they admit it and want to know more.

I do sometimes feel awkward by the fact that I am not earning, but I tell people we are partly self-sufficient. The response is ALWAYS, "Oh, like The Good Life". Yeah!

Ooh, that was a ramble wasn't it? :oops:
i enjoyed reading your ramble :cheers:

sara
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Re: Downshifting

Post: # 178386Post sara
Tue Nov 24, 2009 3:23 pm

Thomzo wrote:Hi
I took the whole of this summer off (6 months) and intend to do the same next year. I would love a part time job but they are like gold dust (well one that uses my skills and experience anyway) so I compromise by doing 6 months off 6 months on.

If anybody asks I tell them I'm "semi-retired" and then explain that I only need to work for six months of the year (which implies I'm financially very successful) and that I can spend the summer doing what I want to do: travelling, shopping, lunching etc (ok, so the "travelling" means getting out on the bicycle around the local area, the "shopping" means walking to the farmers' market and the lunching is usually a picnic) but it sounds impressive.

The main thing is to sound confident and happy that you are doing it for the right reasons, but in order to do so, you must be confident in yourself. Try setting yourself a few goals. One of mine was to study a module for the Open University. This will build your confidence as you see yourself using your time constructively. They don't have to be big goals, growing peas might be one of them. They just need to be things that make you happy.

I loved my time off. Good luck with yours.

Zoe
hi

ive just finished an Open Uni degree I graduate next september , it is alot of hard work but enjoyable go for it thomzo

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