Scaling back, changing tracks or dropping out?

10 years ago I’d been made redundant twice in 3 years and was then out of work for 3 months, I’d taken a job 2 days after Josh was born and was subsequently working long hours for very little money for people I didn’t like, making videos and TV commercials that I knew were going to come back to haunt me in later years.
So I took a lateral step into the Public Service, on the basis that a bit of job security would probably be a good thing with a young family…but that I would only do it for 2-3 years, so that I didn’t get ‘institutionalised’.
By ‘institutionalised’ I meant becoming someone who had become reliant on the perks of working in the Public Service. As I saw it, the trade off was that you took a pay cut, you said goodbye to any ideas of creativity and independence, but in return you got job security and sensible work hours.
You also got access to things like ‘flexible work hours’ and ‘sick days without a certificate’ and ‘working from home’ and ‘long service leave’. But I knew what these things were. They weren’t mana from heaven…they were tests from the Devil. Once you had started taking advantage of these, you had succumbed to the dark side. You would soon start referring to taking a day off work when you weren’t sick as a ‘mental health day’, you would have an email signature that looked like a weekly planner had vomited on the bottom of your email as you tried to explain the days and times when you would be in the office, you would sit down at the start of the year and map out all of the public holidays and work out when you could take a day of annual leave and gain a four day weekend. In short, you had become lazy, and the private sector would never look to give you a job.
But this wasn’t going to be a problem for me, I would be done in 2-3 years. I would have the experience of working in government, but without the stigma that is attached to long term public servants.
I was too strong to succumb to the devil’s wiles.

That was 10 years ago. I’m now due for long service leave…you know, that baffling thing where an employer pays you to not come to work for three months because they haven’t fired you in 10 years?
Last year I worked from home every second Wednesday. I’ve already booked annual leave for Jan 25th so that I can make Australia Day a four day weekend. I’ve become pretty much everything I feared I would become…and I’m about to take the final step into the warm embrace of the public service and cut my work days back to 4 days a week.
Which, to be honest, is kind of freaking me out.
I feel as though I’ve suddenly caught myself halfway down a slide, and I can either choose to work my guts out and climb back up the slide. Or I can fully commit to the ride, let go and just yell ‘Wheeee!’ as I slide into the unknown. Will I get to the bottom and discover I’m now the mediocre and uninspiring cog in a very large machine I feared becoming? Or will the bottom of the slide actually yield the opportunity to hop on another ride? There’s only really one way to find out.

So for this year, my Wednesdays will be focussed on the 4F’s: Family, Fitness, Film and Fuji (and if you think I’m going with ‘Fuji’ instead of ‘Photos’ purely to shoehorn an alliterative 4F allusion into this…you know me too well). This means that if you have a photo or video project you’d like me work on, then let me know, I now have Wednesdays and weekends to work on them. If you want to make Wednesdays a regular early morning run/ride/swim/gym then let me know. If you’ve ever wanted a portrait photo taken of yourself, or of someone you know…then let me know. And if you’re a member of my family hoping that I will be able to spend more time with you…then I’ll be there for you…provided I don’t have a better option available.