I’ve been going through transitions at work, and making the difficult decision to drop a (very) low paying HMO plan, and it’s caused quite a bit of angst for me. I’ve always valued taking insurance because I value the providers I see that take insurance, so it just seems a fair trade.
What I’ve learned is that it’s relatively easy to justify change when there are no real alternatives. It’s easy(er) to say, I can’t do this. I can’t afford to take this, I can’t stay in business. Way back when I was working for DC Government, I gave myself permission to leave because I physically could not handle staying. I left another position along the way because I reached a point where my body couldn’t handle the strain of the commute. I tried for years and it was too draining, and I realized I had to go.
But it’s simply not true here. I can keep doing this; I choose not to. I don’t want to keep taking this plan because I know what it means to accept the lower rates and make a reasonable salary. It means working and additional 5-10 hours a week. Lower rates mean working evenings, weekends and coming home from a day of work and working some more. It means sacrificing vacations, hobbies, and me-time.
It’s funny that it’s easier to defend the choices I’ve made because I “had to” vs a quality-of-life choice, because that somehow sounds selfish or indulgent. Trust me, it’s not. There is a virtue in giving freely, and I truly enjoy giving of my time and energy, simply for the joy of it. But staying in a system that doesn’t value my time doesn’t feel wholesome.
I don’t want to do that any longer.
A few months ago, I started to feel like a hypocrite. Talking to clients about work/life balance is goofy when I wasn’t practicing what I preach. I realized I’ve been spending so much time and energy to get healthier, and then spending my health on the hamster-wheel to make a certain salary. That’s not a good deal.
I understand that my choice means that clients have fewer options, and quite frankly, there’s some sadness and guilt associated with that. It’s also an uncomfortable and unfamiliar place, and I know there are people who are unhappy with and judge my choices. That will have to be just what it is.
I love my job, and feel tremendously blessed to have the privilege of doing what I enjoy. And I’m choosing to put some boundaries up that feel a heck of a lot healthier in the interests of better quality of life.
So….wish me luck. 😉
Good for you, Cheryl! Such a great analysis on seeing that you’re instructing your clients to go for that balance, but had been denying yourself of it. There’s always more we can do for others, things that seem fairly simple and even reasonable for a very long time, but then we hit a realization that there is a depletion factor and that “more” no longer makes sense. Thanks for setting a great example for your clients and all of us but, most importantly, I’m glad you’re taking care of yourself!
I wish you only the best, Cheryl. As you well know, when you’re caring for others, you put your oxygen mask on first. Otherwise, you won’t be help to anyone for long. Oxygen masks come in all shapes, sizes, and formats.
Thanks, Shirley. I appreciate you saying that.