Weighing Value

Friday was my last day working at my second job.

I cannot describe how freeing that is.

Don’t get me wrong, my second job wasn’t the worst in the world. It started out fairly well, but as the months dragged on, it did become a bit draining. And frustrating. There were plenty of times I wanted to quit, but then I’d get that paycheck and see my savings account climb that much higher, and I’d convince myself to keep working (not to mention I had a trip to London I needed to save up for). Once I finally hit the bare minimum of what I needed to pay off the trip, I was definitely tempted to quit. Yet I kept working, stubborn and determined to work there until August, like I planned. The extra money would be so helpful.

Then, my first (and main) job made me an offer to become full-time, roughly a month ago, to start in the middle of the summer.

That full-time offer would make it to where I wouldn’t need a second job anymore. I’d be able to live pretty well working 40 hours alone, instead of stretching it working roughly 55 hours a week between two jobs. I accepted the offer immediately. That had been the goal ever since I was first hired, over a year ago, as part-time. I was jazzed, especially because it meant that I could quit my second job in the middle of June, instead of wasting away my summer working 15 hour days, with time for nothing else.

Your brow may be scrunched up, your nose wrinkled, your lips twisting into a smirk…whatever facial experience betrays your confusion. Because I definitely don’t have a second job anymore and it is definitely not June. It’s still April. So what changed? It’s actually very simple, really: I realized that plans could and that it was okay.

Lemme explain.

My family came up for lunch one afternoon, right after I was offered the full-time position. We were talking about summer being just around the corner and I wasn’t exactly jazzed about it–working at one job from 9-2 and then another job from 2-10 every day made it kinda hard to get excited about warm weather and pools. My Mom turned to me and just asked, “Well, why haven’t you put in your two weeks yet?” I stared back at her blankly, like she was speaking tongues.

I couldn’t quit. I told myself I’d work until August. I need to save up as much money as I can. The only reason I was now planning to quit in June was because the new hours gained becoming full-time would make up the difference, so I wouldn’t be losing out on any money I needed to save.

I explained that to my Mom, who shrugged. She knew I’d saved up enough to pay off the trip and have a little spending money, so technically, I could quit. And then my Dad piped up and said, “You’d have more time to play your games,” before the conversation shifted. But it was enough to make me realize that I had a decision to make. I had to weigh and compare the values of time and money.

If I kept working two jobs, I’d save up probably another $1,000 for my trip. Or, if I didn’t spend it abroad, it could be the new foundation for my savings. It could pay off some money I owe my parents. Or could be put towards another loan. Or it could just be a comforting fall back to have, a peace of mind, as currently, working only one job, I make barely enough to cover my bills and everything in savings is spoken for, so by quitting, I’d be putting myself in a tight financial bind until July, when I see that first increased paycheck.

Yet, if I quit, I’d be getting roughly 30 hours a week of my life back. To do whatever I wanted with. I could sleep in. I could play video games in more than 30 minutes increments snuck in because I chose not to make dinner and eat a microwaveable meal, instead. Hell, I could actually prep and cook meals. I could work out without feeling like it’s a work out in itself just to make it to the just between jobs. I could write. Read. Waste time on the Internet. Meet up with friends for lunch. Have time to run errands/chores, instead of cramming them all in on Saturdays. Over the summer, I could actually lay out by the pool. Whatever I wanted. I’d just have to live a little tight financially for a few months.

As spoiled by the first line of this post, time won. In this instance, time was more important to me. It had the greater value. At first, money did. I had no plans to quit. I chose to continue working and saving. Yet I went to work that next Monday, after talking with my parents, and by my break, I had written up my two weeks notice and gave it to my boss immediately. I realized, quickly, how much value time had; how much I missed having time to spare, to spend however I wanted. Plus, if I could make it financially, even if just skirting by for a while, why would I make myself miserable and exhausted trying to balance it all when I could give up one now unnecessary thing and be able to breathe again?

Today is only the first day of knowing what having that extra time is like. I slept in until 11am. I played Andromeda for a few hours. Showered, did my hair, dressed cute, ate lunch, prepped dinner for tonight, did dishes, picked up the apartment quick and still had ten minutes to spare before I had to leave for work. All of that accomplished–and enjoyed–during what would have been a five and a half hour shift at $9 an hour.

I think I made the right choice, friends.

Cheers.

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About Nicole Evans

Nicole Evans is a writer of fantasy and science fiction. She is currently unpublished and is working fervently to get the “un” removed from that statement. She has five completed manuscripts: a trilogy about destined heroes that fail anyway, a science fiction standalone that pits the natural desire to love against the natural instinct to kill during the extinction of the human race and a new series about a writer who can't get published and gets the chance to live a life that all writers dream. She also has two scripts done. Currently, she is about to start writing the second of a nine book series while planning two more. (If you can tell, she really likes this whole writing thing.) Considering she has run out of space for putting rejections letters up on her wall, Nicole now uses her spare time doing the typical things that nerds do: blogging, dying repeatedly during video games (which she believes is retribution for the characters’ she’s killed), wishing she was the character she is currently reading about and trying to fight off the real world by living in her own head, with varying degrees of success. Nicole has a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Film and Media Studies, and works part-time as a supervisor in a library at the University of Kansas. View all posts by Nicole Evans

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