A strange thing has happened to me. I realized late last night (or extremely early this morning, to be perfectly correct) that for once in my life, I’m not worried about the future of my employment.
The funny thing is, this is probably a time when I should be most worried about the future of my employment. I’ve got one job with a contract set to expire soon with no definite word on what will happen next, another job where I’m always just one “I forgot to close the safe last night” mistake away from fired, a third that is also time-limited because the kids insist on continuing to grow up, and a fourth that pays almost literally nothing but brings me a lot of happiness.
Basically, I’ve got one job out of five that promises a steady paycheck indefinitely as long as I don’t majorly screw anything up. Yet I’m not worried. And no, I’m not on medication, nor should I be. (Odd how that mental health pendulum swings both ways, isn’t it?)
I wish I could tell you that I had this great epiphany, or that I got a great piece of advice, or I won the lottery, but honestly, I don’t know what changed. It just finally clicked that maybe it’s not such a big deal after all, and that I’d be a lot better off not worrying about how things will turn out.
I do have an emergency fund in place that will cover two full months’ of expenses if I were to lose all sources of income at once. It used to have enough to cover three months, but this year has had some unexpected financial situations (human illnesses, pet illnesses, computer illnesses, I-can’t-properly-balance-my-checkbook illnesses, etc). It will last longer if I only lose one job, and am able to pick up some of the slack with more hours at another job. It’s a valuable safety net, and I think that it has a lot to do with my new-found piece of mind.
Note- If you don’t have an emergency fund in place, you really need to get on that. I’ve had one for three years, and have only needed to live off it once. I emptied the account out just trying to pay all the unexpected bills over three months following a car accident, but simply knowing that the money was there during that time far exceeded the actual balance of the account. I’m still trying to rebuild the account up to the recommended full six months of expenses, but that’s going to take a while. For now, it’s enough to know that I wouldn’t drown in bills immediately.
I don’t have any idea what my employment status will be come the beginning of July. I’m hoping that it all stays the same, but I may have five jobs, I may have three, or I may even have none. For right now though, worrying about their life expectancies only makes it harder to focus on the tasks at hand. If I spend too much time worrying, my performance will slip, and then my concern over losing a job will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
So I’m focusing on the tasks at hand right now, not the ones in the future. I’ve got quite a bit of data to organize today, a couple of kids to remember to pick up from summer camp tomorrow, two freelance articles to write by the end of the week, four lessons to plan by the end of the month, and a script or two to edit at some point in the near future.
I’ve also got to find inspiration for Thursday’s Penny Story blog.
Oh, and I have to remember to pack. I’m going to New Orleans this week. Hello Vacation Fund? I’d like to make a withdrawal please. Gumbo, bookstores and the French Quarter await!