I stopped working at the college a year and a half ago. For the most part, leaving academia was a good thing.
Although I really liked my job, I managed to turn a part-time job into an 80-hour work week. Because I'm neurotic. I found myself AWL (always writing lectures). If I was reading the newspaper on the sofa, I would stumble across something that related to my class. I would run upstairs to write it up for the next day's lecture. Or I might fine a good chart, so I would run upstairs to rip it off for a powerpoint slide. I never turned it off. I was also busy writing papers and doing research — activities that I didn't get paid for.
So, it's really better if I channel my insanity into projects that are appreciated and compensated. I'm not sure that I've accomplished either goal.
I'm putting a lot more time into the kids in the past year. I'm more patient with homework, and I'm not losing my mind with stress during all the school closings. Do the kids notice? Probably not. I'm cooking better food. Hubby appreciates it, but the kids miss the days of chicken nuggets. I'm writing a lot, but I have to be better about finishing projects and sending them out for review. (My goal for the day is one pitch letter.) So little compensation there.
But there is appreciation and compensation of a different sort.
I appreciate the fact that I'm no longer doing all the parenting, the housework, and the job any more. I would have liked to do everything, but it wasn't possible. I was seriously stressed out, because we just couldn't handle two high stress jobs and two kids. I never made much money in the past, so we're aren't missing the income much. I'm creating a new lifestyle for myself, and it suits me better.
I'm not getting compensated financially, but I'm compensated with time to think, experiment, socialize, and read.
It took a while for me to get to this point. At first, I was pissed off at the world for creating such a lousy job market. I was pissed off at myself for squandering all that time in dusty libraries. I deferred gratification for years with the hopes of a big payoff. I gambled and lost. I also felt guilty for letting down the sisterhood by leaving the workplace.
I got over it. Every day, I find fresh things to remind me that I'm lucky. Like the Baker Creek Heirloom seed catalog that arrived this weekend. Pictures to follow.