…and closer to home.
Shamelessly, I’m finally sharing my 2014 goals. You might think that six months into the year is too late, and I’m inclined to agree, but here’s the thing: I’ve been busy enough pursuing these goals that I don’t feel bad about my negligence. I’ve had tons of ideas for my writing on all three of my blogs, so this post kept getting bumped back in the queue. But all of that is water under the blog—let’s get to the goals!
* Move to Austin. Paul and I decided some time last fall, I believe, that we wanted to move to Austin in 2014. We have a lot of friends there, and it’s a bigger city with more professional opportunities for us. It also happens to be more liberal than College Station, which is part of why Paul wants to move. (I tend to live inside my little science-writing-and-cooking bubble, so I don’t feel the pain of local conservative politics as much.)
The move is definitely happening this summer. We have a lease on new place that starts July 1st, and my boss is getting ready to replace me. Paul and I are preparing to migrate our freelance work to Austin. But this month, I’m enjoying the relative calm before the storm of moving.
* Freelancing: stay in the game. Once I arrive in Austin, I am not planning to work in a lab. I’ve been doing it, on and off, for the last eleven years, and it’s time for me to move on. You probably remember (since I mention it frequently!) that I have been tutoring students in biology and chemistry. I plan to continue that in Austin; hopefully I’ll be able to net a bigger number of students to sustain my business. I’ve also been talking to a dear friend about helping him with his business. I’ve been hesitant to get too excited getting about working with him because I don’t want him to feel pressured to work with me because of our friendship. But we talked over the weekend, and he’s still interested, so I’m hopeful.
Once I arrive in Austin, it will be the start of full-time freelancing for me. I’m excited and nervous about it, having clients instead of a boss. I’ve learned a lot in my tutoring so far—doing it part-time was the right decision for me, even as I struggled at times to balance two jobs. My top career goal for this year is to stay in the game as a freelancer. Working without a net is scary at times, and it’s tempting to run back to more familiar work, as Chrissy described recently. I’m trying to resist that urge, telling myself that I’ll never know if I can really be my own boss unless I give it my best shot. I think a year is enough time to decide if it makes sense for me to continue down this path. Perhaps more importantly, it’s enough time for some life to unfold, for opportunities to pop up, for me to settle into a rhythm.
Several of my favorite career coaches (one of whom I happen to be dating) have reminded me that I can and perhaps should apply for teaching jobs. Like, real college-level teaching jobs. The adjunct marketplace is notoriously awful, but I’m not in the humanities, where it seems to be the worst. So I’m reconsidering this possibility, if for no other reason than perhaps I should give it a shot and see how it goes. I wouldn’t stop tutoring or seeking other freelance work, but I could be very happy teaching a few classes and freelancing—a patchwork quilt of a career, you might say. And of course I’d keep writing, because that is my hobby and my passion and I miss it very much when I can’t find the time for it.
* Wallet matters: break even financially. Finally, the buck stops here. (Rimshot!) This goal may be more of a dream, but I do think it would be nice to make more money than I spend this year. So far, my debt isn’t too bad—it’s mostly due to travel-related expenses. I flew to Michigan twice this year: once in March for my sister’s bridal shower and then in May for the wedding. Paul and I have some big expenses coming up, namely double rent in July (yay for overlapping leases?) and our move to Austin this summer. We also bought tutoring equipment for our business. We live fairly modestly, I think, but our income this summer has also been modest.
I have surprised myself that I am, more or less, at peace with our financial situation this summer. Paul has been working more than I anticipated (he normally takes the summer off as a reward for busting his ass for nine months of the school year), and we’ve been splitting the grocery bill, so my weekly expenses have been a bit lower.
I’m planning to write a little bit more about my approach to the question of budgeting and the freelance lifestyle. Also, I splurged a little and bought a few new things for my summer wardrobe, and honestly, I just want to show you for fun!
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So that’s it: three huge goals for 2014. How are you doing on your goals? Did you aim for a few big goals or many small goals for this year?