Two weeks ago today, I quit a rewarding and lucrative job without having another gig lined up. Oh, sh*t.
The Immediate Aftermath
The following day consisted of my mind completely shutting down after being unable to answer the following questions:
- What do I do about health & dental insurance?
- How am I going to pay for life?
- rent (in London)
- food/house supplies
- what if I break my leg?
- what if I get bit by a snake like Jules Weiss and get footed a $55,000 bill?
- Should I start looking for a new job?
- Should I get an actual undergrad degree in the industry I’m in? (how to afford this without debt?)
- Should I go to business school? (how to afford this without debt?)
- Am I in the right industry?
- Should I start over?
Apple’s Healthkit app on my phone told me I walked 10 steps that day and not many more the next. Clearly, something had to be done.
Organizing My Concerns
After a few days of lethargy and absorption of what I’d done and what had happened, my mind became restless and went back in to “solve all the things!” mode. When something feels like too big of a task, I remember what my father has asked me since childhood, How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Now, I am not advocating for the consumption of elephants, but you get the point. It was time to break the problem of “What do I do next?” in to many smaller, solvable problems.
Disclaimer: I am not an healthcare nor life expert; this is a story.
Healthcare & Retirement Account(s)
When it comes to the unknown, humility is an asset, for you cannot possibly know everything about everything, so it’s okay to ask people for help. If you’re in this position, make sure you listen to your human resources contact at the company you’re leaving, specifically
- how long your healthcare is covered for under their plan
- the details about making the COBRA election to extend your healthcare at your own cost
- if you have a high-deductible healthcare plan and have a health savings account (HSA) of your own, what can you do with this? How does that work, and where do I go from here with it? It is yours, but their advice is valuable.
- how you can rollover your retirement accounts in to other ones? (I have my own, managed via Schwab)
Additionally, consult your bank/brokerage firm/family/life liason about what your options are and what they think you need to do to ensure you are handling these things correctly. This is what I have been doing, and it is such a relief when someone can help you down your path.
Paying for Life
Naturally, since I have no income until I either sell a product or do freelance work, expenses have had to be slashed. Eating out, pubs, entertainment, etc., are not great expenses until I add up their cost over a year. Rent, healthcare and car insurance are the major killers. There’s no way I’d be able to even be thinking this way with a family to support, so I’ve got it relatively easy. Luckily, I saved up a bit of money before quitting, so I am cushioned for a little bit.
However, frugal is the word.
What Do I Want and Need?
Once I got past the immediate financial and health issues I was able to start tackling the next question: what do I want and need?
I came up with potential paths to go down, sought advice from family and friends, and came up with the things I need in my life:
- be where I need to be (with my significant other after a year apart)
- recover from the mindset I’ve been in for the last 6 months and allow myself to change and not be defined by it
- level-up my programming skills and algorithmic knowledge
- make something that matters and which matters to me
- work for myself for a bit
There were so many other contenders that, after examing what mattered to me and defining what was just outside my sphere of knowledge and influence, didn’t make sense for right now.
Turning a New Leaf
Currently, I am spending my days focused on learning and working. Here’s my routine:
- wake up, brew some tea or coffee
- light exercise
- solve coding problems on CodeWars
- work on basic algebra/trig/geometry/calculus skills that I either don’t remember or never learned via worksheets
- spend 4-5 hours on a MOOC (massive open online course)
- spend the rest of the working day working on my own projects (or, eventually, freelance work)
- play my guitar and record music or a potential podcast
- enjoy life and friends
This daily routine allows me to get things done that matter to me, cut out the things that don’t and make sure I stop and smell the flowers along the way.
Thank you Emily, my family, Jason Vanderslice, Marty Bauer, James Dabbs and the rest of you (you know who you are) for your guidance, encouragement and friendship.