Warning! This blog is a bit longer than we had intended. Because many people asked us about what we’d do with our jobs, we thought it would be interesting to write about this subject.
As you could read in our previous blog post, it took us a lot of time to make the right decision about what to do with our apartment. Regarding our jobs, this was slightly different. At the time of ”the big decision” to go on this world trip, we both had a job that we really enjoyed. But this hasn’t always been the case.
From being unemployed to money conscious
Paula has been looking for ‘the right job’ ever since she graduated in 2009. This started during the financial crises when the job market changed dramatically, especially in the north of the Netherlands. The job market in Groningen isn’t as big as the Randstad, so finding a job was less likely and quite hard as the competition was killing. In that time having a job was almost a privilege. So it wasn’t about having a cool job, but more about having a job at all to pay your bills.
Due to temporary contracts and the unstable market, Paula has been unemployed 4 times between 2010 and now. This has made quite a big impact on her as a person and our lives. There’s always a certain tension as for how to get by and how to pay your bills. Particulary when I (Tjeerd-Paul) was still studying. I can ensure you; this puts a lot of tension on our relationship. Especially for Paula, writing multiple application letters a day for months and being rejected so many times despite all positive responses. This is not something you can shake of easily.
This period of uncertainty taught us more about what is really important in life. We started to really think about our consumption and needs. It is really necessary to buy a fancy, new, smart TV when you have a good, working one but isn’t that fancy? And how about all the clothes in our closet? Do I really need a new pair of jeans or shoes, even though I want to trick myself into telling me I do? Having less money has given us great insights into what we really need, what really makes us happy and how to make more of the money we did have. We also started to appreciate all the things we did have, like normal Dutch black (filter) coffee. (Which I’m really going to miss BTW) We started to become less carrier-oriented and more life-oriented.
From having a permanent job to working everywhere
Paula has been a job hopper in comparison to me in recent years. Ever since 2006 I already had a part-time job with a permanent contract at IKEA. When I was studying I worked during the evenings and weekends. And when I could, also during the week from time to time. This was very helpful during the time when we’re short on money. When I finished studying I started making more hours.
Where Paula has gained a lot of experience in different companies over the years, I only knew one company from inside-out. This has given me the opportunity to grow and change into different disciplines within the same company. Our carrier-paths were exact opposite from each other.
Permanent employment has been the only secure income for us at that time and kept us from drowning. Even though this was our lifeline (together with unemployment benefits), we started to notice that permanent employment, or assurance of a job, is not always the best thing for everyone. The value of having a permanent job started to decrease for us. This may sound contradictory, but when you’re unemployed for so many times, you learn how to deal with uncertainty. Paula has always found a way to get a new job and actually started to appreciate all the opportunities of working in all kinds of different companies and meeting so many new people. With this in mind, you realize that everything will be alright in the end. Going ‘off track’ isn’t always a bad thing.
So strangely enough, we weren’t as tense anymore when another period of unemployment occurred. We’re confided that everything will work out just fine. In fact, the ideas of moving for work or traveling more started to manifest in our heads. Nowadays it doesn’t matter if you are looking for a job in the Netherlands, or in Australia for example. The whole world can be your playground and you can work everywhere if you really want to.
Stepping away from the expected life plan
Everyone knows the obvious plan; when you finish high school, you go to college or university. After that, you find a good job and buy a lovely house, which you decorate with all the stuff you collected over the years and everything else you’d like to buy. If you’re lucky you’ll drive a cool car and go on a holiday twice a year. Everything is already worked out for you and this is the way of life that’s expected in society. But more and more I see people struggling to keep up with this life plan. They feel stuck in this rat race and can’t seem to get out. This was us during the years of uncertainty, finding our way to keep on track. And when finally everything seemed on track, it wasn’t what we expected it to be. It didn’t satisfy us as we thought, even though we worked so hard to get it. Don’t get us wrong. We don’t want to discourage you to follow the obvious path if this is what you really want. We only want you to be happy and do the things you love!
So we noticed that we were happier and felt more freely when we’re on holiday, seeing the world, instead of working the traditional 9-5 life. We experienced everything more intense and had this feeling we really could make our own choices. So why not combine the best of both?
Getting back to what to do with your job when going on a word trip
So to answer the question: it wasn’t that hard for us to make a decision about our jobs. After deciding to really go for this world trip we’re also decided to take our time to make this happen. Leaving for about 2 years isn’t something an employer encourages. So after finding out going on a sabbatical or working for our employer abroad wasn’t an option, we didn’t think twice and decided that we would resign from our jobs! The experiences of the last couple of years gave us the courage to do this.
Thanks to all employers we’ve gained a lot of knowledge and experience to take with us on this adventure! With this said, we’re almost ready for take-off!
PS: We know a lot of people struggle with finding a job or deciding to change their carriers. So if you feel the need to know more about our experiences and struggles regarding this please let us know. We’re happy to answer all your questions and are willing to help you in any way!