This post was a hard one for me to swallow. While I look at these numbers, I can’t help but feel sick to my stomach. If you follow my blog you know that I grew up very poor. You also know that I landed an awesome high paying job. What you don’t know is the toll it took on my life and MY WHY on this pursuit for time freedom.
I remember the day like it was yesterday. The phone call saying “You got the job!” I was ecstatic. I told everyone I knew and felt like all my dreams had come true. June of 2005 was my start date and after 1 year I went from making minimum wage to a six figure income. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw those first checks rolling in. I got greedy, I started working tons of overtime; nights, days, weekends and holidays. It didn’t matter. There were times when my boss would find me outside after 16 hours and make me go home. I loved every minute of it and I loved those pay checks. I was single with no kids. What else was I going to do?
In 2008 I got married, money was good and the overtime piled up. In August of 2010, my daughter was born. I was on my scheduled days off, and elected not to take paternity leave. Yes, you read that right, I chose a precious pay check over staying home a couple weeks with my newborn. At this point I’m sure you are in shock. Well, it only got worse.
2011, the big turnaround year. If you are in the oil and gas field you know this means tons of hours and lots of money. Boy did I love the money. This would become the most regretted year of my life. I worked 2152 hours of overtime that year. The equivalent to an extra 156.5 days if you worked an 8 hour schedule. I was working 12 to 14 hour shifts, almost every day including the weekends. The checks were huge and every hour only made them bigger. I was in money heaven.
Some time during this year my kid said her first words. What were they? I don’t remember… Around August I got moved to nights to start shutting the units down for the turnaround. Everyday Breckyn would beat me to the door to cry. She knew as a 1 year old, when I left for work. It was that frequent. I felt like the biggest piece of crap in the world. It started wearing on me, fast when I realized what I was doing. At this point it was too late though. The turnaround had started and I had to be there everyday until it was over in November.
Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, my daughter formed her first sentence.
“DADA GO WORK”
All day everyday “dada go work”, “dada go work”. I had officially hit rock bottom. I was the alpha piece of crap.
I’m going to skip all the details, but ultimately I ended up divorced. My kid became the drive I needed to make a change. She is the reason I started opening businesses and why I haven’t worked overtime in 2 1/2 years. I’m not going to keep working shift work. I’m done missing holidays. 9 years I worked every Christmas!!
I’m still a very busy person. It’s not easy to walk away from a job like this. There’s a lot that has to be done and I want to make sure our future is secure financially. Even now with everything going on I spend far more quality time with my kid than I ever have. Even if I have to swing by one of the businesses she can be with me. What kid doesn’t want to hang out in an ice-cream store? My girlfriend and I travel quite often and make time for our relationship. We actually just went to Italy last November for two weeks!
Life is slowly getting better and we are enjoying it more everyday. Eventually I’ll be walking away from Corporate America. My ultimate goal is time freedom. Never to have to ask for a day off. Never to have to miss something due to being out of vacation or allotments already filled. I want to live my life on my terms and write my own paychecks. It makes me happy to say that we are well on our way.