Working less to combat burnout
At the time I found FIRE, I was NOT interested in working any more hours at my job. And side hustles? No way! Where would I find the time? I was on the verge of burnout and I could feel the flames getting closer.
So I transitioned to a less stressful role & my income was reduced. It seemed counterintuitive if my aim was to reach FIRE as quickly as I could, seeing I was already starting so late.
But my mental wellbeing was more important. What’s the point of arriving at FIRE, burned out, resentful and not in the mental space to enjoy the accomplishment?
The less stressful role was working fairly well when Covid hit in 2020. My stress levels went back up. Being a frontline health worker and managing other frontline health workers took another toll.
In 2021, I flirted with working 9 days a fortnight or taking a day off every month. But no one, including me, respected those days off. Anytime we were short staffed, I’d end up working.
So in February 2022, I decided to work 4 days a week, every week. Keeping it consistent. There was so much anxiety around this decision.
Initially I had a lot of long service leave and it covered the day off. This meant no loss of income until August when my long service leave entitlements finally came to an end.
I was lucky to pick up some evening shifts at another business for 2 months so that supplemented the 4 day/week income.
Living on a reduced income
Working less gave me space to heal
The perfect side hustle for me
I won't lie ... anxiety kicked in
10 Replies to “How I increased my income at 51 with a perfect side hustle”
How fantastic! I’ve concluded that with side hustles (among other things), when the right thing comes along, you’ll know it. Almost instinctively. Also, from my personal experience (and I know from others as well), opportunities have a way of presenting themselves—pre- and post-FIRE—with at least some regularity. Some are more lucrative than others, but opportunities they are nonetheless. The great thing about pursuing, or being at, FIRE is that you can choose those ones that you know are the right thing and turn down the rest if you so choose. It’s a fantastic position you’ve put yourself in.
Also, big ups to you for reworking your work week and, now, finding another desirable revenue stream to keep you on track or accelerate you on the path to FIRE.
Thanks! You are right about opportunities presenting themselves. I also know that I wouldn’t have been open to this opportunity if I hadn’t rested and was in the mental space to jump at it.
I’m glad you’re using the extra income for the extras rather than just pushing it all into the general living expenses. It makes working those extra hours so much more rewarding.
Good idea on keeping it going once you pull the pin and retire, too. I’m teaching this term and using the $$ for my big holiday to celebrate a big birthday later this year. 🙂
I’m too conservative to give it all up! I like having Plan B 🙂 And in my industry, there’s continuing professional development points to keep up with each year, registration, insurance, and minimal hours of work … which I’ll probably continue until I can access my superannuation. We’ll see!
Oooh, looking forward to hearing about your big plans!
I love this post! Us old dogs can indeed learn some new tricks. “Woof! Woof!”
I spent 30 + years in Tech which was great. Until it wan’t. Until it was utter hell. I too used Quickbooks when I was running my own local Tech company and when I was beyond burned out on the Tech, I moved over into finances. I did independent bookkeeping for a few years and now I am relaunching again..
Haha! We certainly can still learn some new tricks!
Yeah, I’m surprised I lasted this long but a lot of my colleagues have been in the profession for much longer than I have been. Maybe that’s rubbed off on me. But it’s certainly getting harder and harder.
Good luck with the relaunch!
It sounds like this is a really good job that suits your skills perfectly! I look forward to reading how it works out for you over time.
I’ll definitely keep you all informed! I received my first payment today so it’s still in the exciting phase, haha! It’s one big adventure at the moment 🙂
Is great that you can compartmentalise, knowing the side hustle is for a different purpose than general living expenses. Very smart.
Thanks, Daniel! This is my sixth year of pursuing FIRE – if I’ve learned nothing else, I’ve learned about what’s important to me and what’s not. And once I know that, it is easier to prioritise where my money goes.