I feel like I know an awful lot about celebrity news lately. Maybe that’s because I am filing three—yes, THREE—articles per day on celebrity news right now. Which is really sort of a fun and, believe it or not, valuable writing exercise. I can be as silly as I want, but I also need to do legitimate research, include relevant links and photos, and stay on top of what’s current. It’s a fast-paced gig that’s teaching me a lot about making my time as efficient as possible.

It’s challenging and fun. I’m enjoying myself quite a bit over there.

I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity, because it’s this particular column for The Stir that allowed me to fully move into freelance. For me to leave Workplace, I had to create a predictable salary situation for myself. It wasn’t enough to hope I could get by on feast-or-famine corporate writing gigs, I needed the stability of a certain amount of monthly work.

I tell you that because I’ve had so many wonderful, supportive comments on this life change, and I keep hearing what a brave choice it was. It wasn’t brave, you guys.

I’ve been wanting to leave Workplace for years. Years. That’s how long I’ve been complaining about needing a change, but I couldn’t find my way out of it. It took this long to find a job that was a good fit for me, where the people are awesome to work with, where I can get it done without having to pay for daycare.

That’s the thing that made it so hard, up until now. If I wanted to find another job outside the home, it had to pay exactly what Workplace paid, or more. I couldn’t earn a penny less without our daycare costs overwhelming us. I couldn’t NOT work, even if I wanted to, because we can’t afford to live on one salary.

It’s a bullshit deal for a lot of people in this country. I don’t have anything intelligent to say about it, really, except that the system is truly fucked. Most of us need two salaries to get by. If you need two salaries and you have young children, you need to pay for daycare, because most companies still won’t let us work from home. And daycare costs are astronomical.

It’s a trap. It’s a goddamned trap that keeps people in shitty soul-draining jobs. Just like healthcare. Just like mortgages, when you live somewhere like Seattle.

If I have one overarching goal for my family for the future, it’s that we don’t get bogged down by the machine of our economy, because you know what, the machine is broken. Life isn’t like it used to be, and I don’t think we’re ever going back. Houses won’t be the investments they once were. Jobs won’t provide the same security. 401(k)s won’t save us. It’s a lie to believe that the more you have, the happier you’ll be. All you’ll be is held in place, unable to make a move.

I want my children to have the freedom to do whatever they want for a living. I want them to dig ditches if that makes them happy. I want them to be able to choose a new path if the one they’re on isn’t working. I want them to live by something other than money. I want their definition of success to be entirely their own.

So I guess if that’s what I want, that’s how I need to live. I hope I’m finally heading in the right direction.

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MRW
MRW
11 years ago

My husband got laid off in April. He got a job in August (thank dog), but during those four months we learned that we could live just fine on less than 1/2 his salary and our lives were so much less stressful. Here is the kick in the ass: my husband doesn’t want to work 1/2 time at the job he got or in any of the jobs this job will lead him to even though his company would accommodate this. I’d give my left tit to work 1/2 time, but my employer is immovable on that issue and since I’m the primary breadwinner, we cannot afford it financially. I like my job, but those four months of not having both of us run around like insane maniacs getting two kids ready for school and then end of day stuff on the other side were like a heavenly little interlude. Since my husband really likes the job he’s in and where he’s going, I can only hope that in the future he makes enough that I can look for a job that will allow me to work half time or else my life is going to pass by in a treadmill like blur of getting ready, going to work, coming home, getting kids ready for bed, going to sleep and then doing it all over again. Sometimes the thought of it makes me despair. So I’m living vicariously through you for awhile. Thanks!

Gwen
11 years ago

Congratulations for taking the leap. You are so inspiring!

Jessi
11 years ago

I hope you are heading in the right direction too. Anything is better than soul-sucking! As so many have said, you are brave and totally awesome for taking this giant leap.

Brooke
11 years ago

I hear you, Linda. I wish I could take a flyer and do something I love. But it’s my soul-sucking job that will put my kids through college with the tuition discount (100% by the time they start), so I can’t leave. Another job might pay the same, but I’d lose 1.2 MILLION dollars in tuition benefits. I have to make the sensible choice for my kids.

We too, remodeled our house to better accommodate our growing family and what we owe plus what we’ve paid is more than we could sell it for. Fortunately, we’re not looking to move, but it’s not a good feeling.

Nunzio
Nunzio
11 years ago

You are correct that the system is completely fucked. My wife and I have more education thank our parents. We work longer hours than our parents, without overtime of course. We live in a much smaller house than our parents and we cannot afford to live on one salary. We live frugally and do not have 4 TVs, granite countertops, RVs or toys. Life has just plain gotten harder. The system is no longer geared to allowing the middle class a comfortable life.
If you are low-income, day care is provided at greatly reduced rates but if you are middle income, the burden falls entirely on your shoulders.
The few people who are wealthy, of course, don’t need to worry about this particular problem. Strangely, the old model of a one salary household has now become the exclusive domain of the wealthy.

What the fuck happened to our country?

SKL
SKL
11 years ago

Yeah, there you go again, going beyond what I actually said to you to trash me, and expecting me to just keep quiet.

But yeah, I am honest about my opinions on public sites, so sue me! But I haven’t decided to make it my paid profession, so I personally don’t see that as the same thing at all. Also, for the most part, I’m talking to anonymous people and disagreeing with their opinion, not putting them down as individuals. In your case, you have done a few things to hurt others intentionally, and I felt that justified a comment. Don’t you have enough fawning fans to let it roll off your back if you think it’s not warranted?

SKL
SKL
11 years ago

Come to think of it, why don’t you just do a post on The Stir and make some money off trashing me, too?

Linda
Linda
11 years ago

Well, SKL, because the only people who give a shit about you are the bloggers you harass.

Here’s your email from this morning:

“I can’t help it if you happen to be writing at some of the sites I visit.

Sometimes I make comments that are intended as constructive criticism. We all need some sometimes. Other times, I react to nasty things you have written about me personally, or about people like me – things that you have absolutely not intended in a kind way, or things about which you are blindly foolish and insulting. Excuse me for being real. I will go to whatever public site I choose to go to.”

You’re unbalanced, creepy, and the worst sort of abuser—the one who hides behind “constructive criticism”. I feel sorry for your children.

Jill
Jill
11 years ago

I just want to say – I love your blog … I love that you are now able to work from home and follow your dreams.

I typically do not comment, but feel like I have to say … the system is not fucked. Yes, 2 years is a long time to stay in a position you hated, but you did the responsible thing by staying employed until something ELSE came along.

I’ve never been one to believe a home was an investment. I had many many people critize me (before the housing bust) on living in a small home, in an area of town that wasn’t “up and coming”. I simply wanted a roof over my head. My house isn’t a shack and we have more disposable income because of it… BUT it’s a choice my husband and I made. And my house STILL lost about 38% of it’s value.

I will agree that the HOUSING system is broken… the fact that my neighbor files for bankruptcy and leaves an empty home makes my home worth less money is insane.

SKL
SKL
11 years ago

Linda, why did you only include part of my email?

I think you should include the whole thing if you are going to be honest. (Other than the typo, which I appreciate your fixing.)

I actually do wish you well. I honestly don’t understand why you react so strongly to the tiny % of comments that criticize you.

Linda
Linda
11 years ago

Because you’ve been harassing me and people I know for years, SKL, and I’m fucking sick of it.

Or should I call you Lynn? Are you on a break from your legal position in Ohio right now, Lynn?

Ang
Ang
11 years ago

Congrats, Linda!

It sounds like you are having fun AND you get to be with your kids.

I really don’t see how this entry is offensive to SKL. Saying that he/she feels sorry for your kids is going below the belt.

You talk about your kids so lovingly and you seem to be such a positive force in their life.

SKL
SKL
11 years ago

Linda, are you trying to threaten me?

I do not harass people. Please state the accurate number of posts of yours I have commented on in the past 3 years, since you want to talk about this in public. Please state the number of emails I have sent you, and how many of them were in response to emails you have sent me first (hint: 100%). And how many of them were positive versus negative. Please state the number of times I have contacted you in other ways in your entire life. (That would be zero.)

If I really wanted to be mean, I could say a lot more. But that is not my purpose. The only reason I am responding is because you are deliberately misleading your readers.

SKL
SKL
11 years ago

Oh wait a minute – I think you should clarify that in your comment containing parts of my email (which was in response to your email to me), the last paragraph is your statement to me, not my statement to you. You accused me of being an abuser and rotten mother, not the other way around. Please clarify for your readers, as I see it’s been misinterpreted.

SKL
SKL
11 years ago

By the way, Linda, who else is accusing me of harassment? You mentioned there are other “people you know” who I’ve been harassing.

Linda
Linda
11 years ago

Lynn, I know who you are and where you work now, just like you know who I am and where I work. I call that even ground.

And now, welcome to my delete button.

Kristy
11 years ago

Just like mortgages, when you live somewhere like …like ANYWHERE!!!

Artemisia
11 years ago

Amen. It is a trap, and it is so very broken.

I happen to work in a very family-friendly Workplace. I do not have children, and have no intention on having any. (Ha! Let’s see what the Universe deals me with that little plan! Am off to buy more condoms.)

However, I feel like it is very, VERY important that I speak out in support of any proposed changes to policies that would make working and raising a family either easier or more difficult. Working and parenting and being able to provide for a family is almost impossible. It is such shit. I can only hope that when The Administration at Workplace hears from a NON-PARENT about how important it is to be flexible for parents and for families of all sorts, that it resonates a bit, you know?

The only way to hope to make some suitable changes to workplaces and work arrangements is if everyone is on board. I get pretty irritated – no, infuriated – at non-parents fussing that parents get “special treatment” from workplaces. BULLSHIT. Total bullshit.

We ALL need a better atmosphere. A better way to live.

Anyway. Amen. I have your back and I am so very, very proud of you.

victoria
victoria
11 years ago

I’m glad you found a job that works for you. It’s a big deal, and it took a lot of courage, and self-respect. Congratulations on your new life! Oh, and — I don’t bill clients when I’m on the internet. I don’t know a lawyer who would. ;-)

Heather
Heather
11 years ago

That was bad ass and you are my hero. Get a life SKL.

I don’t have kids yet, but my husband and I are def feeling the harsh reality of the economy. I agree that life will never be the same. We both lost our jobs in Las Vegas, and we own a home that is upside down $100,000 but we tried to take a chance and make life better. We always wanted to live the simple life in Oklahoma. We moved here 3 months ago. We’re renting our LV house at a loss, we’re renting a home in OK for way too much money, I found a job that I love but doesn’t pay enough, and my husband didn’t find a job at all. It cost 3 times as much as we thought to move here, and contrary to all the articles and awards going out to the Oklahoma cost of living- it’s not cheaper than Las Vegas. Believe or not- I have spreadsheets that prove it. The only job he’s been able to find since being laid off is in Iraq. He deploys every 4 months for 4-5 months at a time. Here I am living the dream in Oklahoma with my 3 dogs, and praying for my husband. I’m not sure which life sucks more. All I can say is we tried. We’re still trying and some day it will all pay off. Every one does what they think is right at the time. We lived a very, very good life for a moment in time, and will most likely be paying for it for the rest of our lives. We have each other and we’re happy. Life’s too short to be anything but. I’m very happy for you!

Kelly
Kelly
11 years ago

Linda, I have read your blog for a few years but have never commented. Today I had to, you are wonderful and what you have written here is the so true! Good for you that you stepped off the rat race track! You are my inspiration to one day do the same! And the fact that you pratically ripped SKL a new one on the comments, well, that was just a bonus! BRAVO!

Ashley
11 years ago

Said it a thousand times already… completely, ridiculously, happy for you and your family! Can not WAIT to see what the coming year holds :)

New Momma
New Momma
11 years ago

I agree! The Machine is getting crazy…my family is kind of in your position except I’m looking for full-time emnployment to help supplement my family’s income and can hardly find it.

I also wanted to note that (please don’t call me a stalker-haha) I’ve been reading your blog all the way back to 2006 over the last few weeks when I have time and it is very interesting that some of the commenters have stuck with you so long! You have staying power, you’ll be great at your new writing endeavors. (What happened to “Josh” I wonder? I liked him, he was witty)

Mommy on the Spot
11 years ago

I can’t tell you how much this post resonates with me. Thank you so much for posting it!

Felicia
Felicia
11 years ago

“It’s a trap. It’s a goddamned trap that keeps people in shitty soul-draining jobs.”

Amen to that! My job has been soul-draining for the past year, to the point of horror for the last six months, and yet we still cannot find a way to make our finances work without it. We are under water in the house, and selling it is not an option at this point… I’m not sure if I will ever buy another house in my life. *sigh*

Ashleas
Ashleas
11 years ago

Some people are happy with their jobs, their lives. To them, I say that’s wonderful and I’m so glad you’ve been able to find something that works for you, to push yourself to achieve those happy goals, to work hard for what makes you happy.

I however, am the opposite. I’m timid, afraid, and riddled with bad choices. I’m a 24 year old cashier living with her mother. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree but have never submitted an application to any art-related job. I’m terrified of rejection, of moving away, of being told I’m not good enough.

So I stay in my cashier role..hoping that something will happen that’ll make a job fall into my lap. I’m not happy. I’m miserable.

Folks that can change their lives, that can overcome obstacles, that can make and find their own happiness.. you have my utmost adoration.

Allison
Allison
11 years ago

SKL has far to much time on her hands. Every time I read one of her comments, circus music starts up in my head.

Creepy troll is creepy.

Lauren (carterbiosea)
Lauren (carterbiosea)
11 years ago

Then there are those of us who cannot do our jobs from home, like the healthcare/biotech/pharma folks. I don’t even have the option. BUT, I chose to go into this field, so there you have it. I’m not even sure what the point of my comment is, other than to point out that difference. As you were.

Kristen
11 years ago

AMEN.

We are in total agreement on the economy being broken and are in a re-organization mode ourselves.

I’m happy that you found something enjoyable to do from home. I’m trying to do the same.

tansasser
11 years ago

Thank you for allowing your boys to be ditch diggers if they wish. My MIL had the audacity to say that my (4-month old) daughter can be whatever she wants as long as she doesn’t become a plumber or an electrician. Never mind that my father is a self-employed cabinet maker who granted, does not have a lot of spare cash lying around like her retired anesthesiologist husband, but damn, he’s been happy for the 20+ years he’s been in business. So yes, daughter of mine, you can be a plumber as long as you are the best damn plumber out there. Just please wear appropriate pants.

Jennifer
Jennifer
11 years ago

(I haven’t read comments so pardon any horse-beating) Linda – I just gave 30 days notice at my job that I hate (that I loved 2 years ago). I’ve been in this industry for 8 years because I fell into it, and got stuck because I was good at it – even though I didn’t like doing it. It’s HOA management, and I’m in IT. Nuff said. Anyway, I’m a single mom and felt like I had no choice but to stay. Three months ago my boyfriend asked me what my reasons were for not going to culinary school like I really wanted. My reasons were legit, yet nothing that couldn’t be fixed. So I start school in November to find what “I” want to do. Not what mom wants. Not dad. Not something I have to do because I am a single mom fighting to stay on top. (Totally summarized version of my epic turning point in life but you get the pic)

Your readers are damn straight this is brave. Regardless of how long it takes to take that leap it’s brave when you finally do. I am scared as all get out and fearful that this could be the dumbest move in a long time. But fuck it – let’s do this. Good luck in all you do.

adequatemom
11 years ago

AMEN. Well done! I have always looked up to you as a role model mother/writer/inspiration and now, even more so. You are so damn wise.

hannah
hannah
11 years ago

But… if our children grow up to be ditch-diggers, they won’t have much work/family flexibility, I imagine.

I mean, I do want my kids to make choices and have a fulfilled life- but, like you, they’re probably going to have to work pretty hard to get to that place, since I don’t anticipate them graduating from college magically independently wealthy. And I don’t know that there’s really anything wrong with that- they have a lot of advantages in that they’re children of educated parents in America, but they’re still going to have to find a way to balance paying the bills with their own happiness. Hopefully my husband and I will have modeled one way to do that to them, and given them the tools they need to find their own way.

Anonymous
Anonymous
11 years ago

I liked what Deb said earlier. If we’re gonna be broke, at least let’s LIVE. So what, does Facebook need another person to brag about their awesome European vacation? Who cares about the Joneses. They survive on credit. My family is trying to live below our means and it’s not easy. I work on the weekends so I don’t have to pay for daycare, as well as 18 months pregnant and in my last year of RN school. Like they say, anything that’s hard is going to be worth it.

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