In November, following our wedding, my wife Chaohui and I were looking for a “family home”. In the car on the way to visit my Grandad Jim in South Wales, we had a nice chat. Chaohui had the idea not to move house: instead to “make do” with our already-too-small place and use her salary pay our mortgage. That way, I could leave my job and try to live the life I want, as outlined in previous posts. In short, this meant using maths to help businesses, working for myself and spending my breaks outside.
This brought with it a lot of questions: Would I actually want what I thought I want? Would I get lonely without colleagues right away? Would my wife and I be okay with the heavily reduced income? We discussed this last topic at length, and decided to consider this period as an investment, in the same way that we might invest in shares, buying a house, or having money in the bank. Yes, it is a risk, but by managing our own expectations we can choose to afford it. The other big questions I’d only understand through trial-and-error: I’ll let you know how it goes!
So I handed in my notice in January, for an April start to my new life. This delay was chosen so that the start would coincide with British Spring :). During this time we started consciously “saving up”, reducing our discretionary spend allowance to £50 each per month to build up a financial buffer.
For me, the goal is not really financial, as outlined in another blog post. I’m making a big effort to balance financial with social goals, by setting up my company’s objectives around more than just money coming in. I identified these goals before I made the change (what if I could achieve what I wanted in a way I hadn’t considered yet!).
Even having taken the plunge, I am still a bit scared: giving up a job I like for a more direct self-challenge, especially in so many different areas, is a bigger change than perhaps I would’ve chosen to have all at once. Thanks to the support of many of my ex-colleagues, family and friends, I feel surer now than ever that this is the right thing for me to do. And if it fails: I will have learned something!