I have a confession. As much as I say that I’m in favor of testing new waters and stepping outside my comfort zone, I’ve grown content with my current work situation. Aside from being independently wealthy, most ways to produce income aren’t perfect, but I have a pretty sweet setup.
I work in three different optometry settings, two private, one government, and have lots of flexibility. While I average three office days per week, I do have the ability to take several weeks off in a row or take on extra days if I want to make more money.
In all honesty, I would have probably kept the status quo until I was ready to leave the game for good. Life somehow has a way of tossing monkey wrenches into the best laid plans, and I’m afraid that’s my dilemma recently after I found out that my government job is going to be turned into a full time position. Now I’m faced with the choice to leave my job or work full time.
Doesn’t Everyone Want a Sweet Government Job?
This is not a completely negative development. Turning a 1099 contract position into a full time job with government benefits would be most people’s professional dream. Going full time would mean lots of amazing things, at least from a financial standpoint.
- Good salary
- Awesome health insurance, plus dental and even vision!
- Eligibility for the Federal Thrift Savings Plan with 4 percent employer match
- Malpractice insurance, licensure, and continuing education, all covered by employer
- Generous vacation time plus ten government holidays
- Almost guaranteed raises annually
- Regular hours without weekend or evening work
- No more long commutes
- Short of being arrested, very little chance I’d ever lose my job
I figured it up and the benefits alone are worth at least $12,000 per year.
I also tremendously enjoy working with the Indian Health Service. I started my career there, and it would be a nice full circle way to finish. I love the clinic staff and feel like I get to do what I’m trained for there rather than nit pick with insurance companies or nutty employees. I also never have to try and sell anything.
So What’s The Problem?
With all that to be gained, there is one big thing I would be giving up: Freedom.
My whole purpose over the last several years was to work smarter instead of harder by setting up all these different jobs with the flexibility to take off to go on a school field trip or to spend three weeks at a time on vacation if I want.
I’ve also developed a nice stream of side income that would probably be difficult to maintain if I took on full time work.When I knew I was getting ready to sell my practice, I didn’t mind staying up late or working all weekend to get this blog started, but I’m not sure I could maintain the right attitude if all I saw in front of me was 40 hour office weeks.
Basically, short of quitting work altogether, I have the best of both worlds at the moment, and I’m sad that it’s probably coming to an end.
What Should You do When Faced with a Difficult Career Decision?
With any major career decision, I think you have to look at all the pros and cons and think about where you are financially. In my case, if I were to take a full time job, there would be several financial pros vs one huge lifestyle con.
Since we keep careful track of our finances, it didn’t take long to revisit how our budget would look if I didn’t take this job and continued to work my remaining two positions. We would still be fine because we don’t spend all of our income every month, but it would slow down our ability to retire as early as we want.
Of course, I could look for another optometry job or try to find ways to increase my side income. I need to replace about $3,000 a month to keep our income level steady.
The government is not a very fast moving entity. Potentially, I could have some time before my position is converted or it could be as soon as this fall. I have to decide whether or not to apply by the end of next month.
I am still torn as to what might be the best decision. I’m not an especially patient person, but for now, all I can do is make as much income as possible and wait for the official job posting to come out to see if it makes sense to leave my job or work full time.
Would you give up some personal freedom for great pay and benefits? How would you make extra money if you lost part of your income?