Doesn’t everyone?

Linda Horton
Jul 2 · 4 min read
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

After being self-employed for most of my life, I took a full-time job a little over a year ago. It was kind of foisted upon me, and I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the idea. Everyone was so happy for me when I told them about it, but I felt like I was going to prison. I kept telling myself this is not a life sentence.

Included in the benefits of this job are 16 Flexible Time Off days (FTO) a year. Woo-hoo, three weeks (plus a day) paid vacation! I’ve actually never had this before. I mean, if I wasn’t working, I wasn’t making money. The bane of the self-employed, and all.

But just halfway through this year, I have used or allotted each and every one of those 16 days. And it’s not like I’ve squandered them. In February, I took a week off just to get stuff done around the house. Some things are tough to get accomplished over a weekend, and you really need to dig in. So, it was a staycation, of sorts.

Seven months after that first break, I will be taking my second week off — needed for a lot of personal obligations in September. I will be busy, but not really relaxing, per se.

And the remaining five FTO days, will be spent in Spain. I’ve planned the trip for October — and will be squeezing every last minute of my days off into that excursion.

I took one sick day this year, and now have zero left.

Those damn FTO days go fast.

So the remainder of my year is spoken for, and most of it will be spent at a job that I, well, hate is a strong word, but I hate that motherfuckin’ job.

So there ya have it.

Where is the joy? Um, it’s not at my place of employment. Part of the reason I booked that trip to Barcelona is so I have something to look forward to. And that I do!

But is this any kind of existence? Working for the weekend? Working for that one vacation a year? Spending most of your waking hours at an unfulfilling workplace?

I say NO.

Some people say “suck it up, nobody likes their job”. And I say, “that’s sad!”. I don’t want to be one of those people. What, work a crappy job all your life until you retire?

No. No. No.

Sure, my job is a reliable paycheck, but at what cost?

So now what? I told myself I’d give this job a year, and I turned into that pumpkin a few weeks back, and am starting to rot.

Man, hustling for a buck is hard. I had some good years, but a lot of tough times. But it’s time for me to get all my side hustles in a row, and plan my escape.

I’m getting creative. I need out, and soon.

I am creative, and smart. I have marketable talents and skills. I’m a photographer, and a writer, and capable of doing a whole lot of other things.

Hell, I’ll drive a damn Lyft car if I have to.

I might have to work more than 40 hours a week, but that’s ok! When I’m doing something I love, time just flies.

Oh, and I still want to travel, but it won’t be to escape, but rather an extension of my awesome life. And I can be gone as long as I please, dangit.

Having a life where the lines between work and play are blurred is ideal. That’s what I want, and that’s what I had for many years.

But I took the easy route — a full-time job with benefits.

Now to plan my escape. Like someone in an abusive relationship, I have fantasies of simply running out the door to freedom. But I must be more methodical about it.

It will be soon though. And like my European vacation, it is something I am anticipating with great excitement.

I can feel my heart opening just thinking about it — a life and job I don’t need a vacation from.

Because I want to enjoy my time on this planet now.

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Linda Horton

Written by

Born a photographer, but prone to writing haiku on public transportation, or baking things, I live in Chicago with my feisty terrier, Sunny.

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