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