“New Years’ day and we woke to the worst possible news. My husband’s job was made redundant! In December I lost my job due to company relocation. Then my husband’s mother died. Great start to 2009!
Both in our early 60’s, deep recession and no job prospects, we were on our own. Friends suggested we offer our services as landscape gardeners which helped with the finances. Our first job won an award for Best Pub Garden. We knew this wouldn’t be enough to live on full time so we had to cash in a small pension and cancel EVERYTHING that wasn’t a necessity.
It was when we were in France restoring a friend’s garden – free lodging in exchange for our labour, I just happened to say out loud “If only someone could see us and what we are doing, maybe we could work abroad”. Ten days later a friend rang to say she knew of someone looking for house-sitters, animal guardians and groundsmen, were we interested? So we thought (not for long I might add) and went for it. Of course, playing it safe we could have stayed home, looked for jobs offering a meagre wage but very little satisfaction. What’s the dilemma? No income here or No income there? Besides, who gets to live in a Chateau every day of their lives??
We’ve been living in the Bordeaux region since January and will return to the UK in July, with the possibility of another house sit in the area for next year.
Having gone from fairly exotic careers, travelling the world on good money with all the trimmings, we now live hand to mouth in France. Our world revolves around getting up early to walk two large dogs, feed a donkey and chickens, plus gardening duties in a totally rural existence. Had we known what that involved would we have taken the chance? Sometimes you have to step outside the box and take the positives from such an experience.
We are having the adventure of a lifetime, have gained a whole new circle of friends, marginally improved my French and are VERY happy living a French way of life.
Sometimes when your world seems as though it’s been tipped upside down, you can land the right side up. Next stop Italy???”
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Clare writes: “I made a change to my career about 5 months ago; I left the comfort of a career I had been in for about 18 years. It was a stressful job, but safe in terms of salary. I am now doing a job I enjoy significantly more, using skills I gained volunteering! This part time option is also providing me with time and money to stretch and develop my coaching skills. The majority of the coaching work is currently for no fee (I am a bit of a rookie!). The paid job is a means to filling the gap while the children need me around. It provides the pennies we need to pay the mortgage, swimming and tennis lessons, and the other usual household bills. Although the coaching I am doing isn’t filling the moneybox, it is adding to my skills, experience and contacts.
Making changes can require some sacrifices, but maybe we need to start looking at work as more than a way of filling the money silo. The time spent building up the skills silo can provide the springboard from which a salary can come in the future. That’s how Claire started out, too.
Are there skills or strengths that you could be working on now from which you can harvest benefit in the future when time, money or circumstances allow you to be more flexible to make a change? Could your volunteering choices be part of a strategy to gain the skills needed to make a change? Are you just working for a salary silo or to build up the silos from which your future will come?”
Love this? Do us a favour and send it to five people. Who thinks like you? You could send it to someone who is living in a gap.