I work in the manufacturing industry (like most people in Metro Detroit area) for a company located 1 mile from my home. I started at the literal bottom of this place as a machine operator making $12/hr. The only plus of that position was the active lifestyle - I was constantly running around a warehouse all day which helped me stay active. After a year, they moved me up to a very stressful tech support position. That year brought a new found pleasure in IT Crowd - "Have you tried turning it off and on again?" I absolutely hated that position - I was still undervalued at $16/hour, constantly stressed, constantly dealing with angry customers. This was also the year I found ERE and became obsessed with curbing my spending and paying off my student loans.
My current position of almost two years is as a technical writer. As far as jobs go, this is the best I've ever had. Some pluses:
- I am one of the lucky working people who did not loose their job during the pandemic (knock on wood)
- I am the only tech writer at my office, so no one has any idea what I am actually doing all day (hint: it's usually ERE, editing articles for a socialist newspaper, reading, etc)
- I do actually like the work, and everything I now do (guides, illustrations, online learning, content management) could easily transition into a freelance / work from home gig if I took the leap
Some (huge) negatives of my current workplace:
- Absolutley toxic atmosphere created by the CEO. In the 4 years I've been at this job, I've always strangely been able to avoid the direct line of fire. But the CEO is the most insane maniac I've ever met - cussing out employees, firing and then sueing people who talk back, and just generally yelling all the time. My first year here around 50 people quit or were fired, and there's less than 50 people working here! Luckily he's not in the office too often these days
- CEO won't allow anyone to work from home ever, even during a pandemic. This is a huge negative for me as I am a big homebody. Home is where my cats are!
- Because I was hired into their lowest paying position, I have contantly been undervalued. This got drastically better with my last raise - they bumped me up $10k a few months ago "as a show of appreciation", so maybe this point is now moot
- I don't value "work" or take pleasure in any "status" related to a job, so I really don't care about working anywhere. I just want a paycheck and nice conditions for as long as I have to do this
I realize that I have not yet clearly stated why ERE, what this means to me and what my actual goals are. Maybe I'll dive into this more another day, but for now -
I love being home, I love not spending money (except apparently on food but I'm working on that), I love doing and making things at my own pace and schedule. I used to be an artist, and while I have moved away from making art for arts sake (this honestly feels like a selfish act to me now), I am still very interested in knowing what useful thing/s I could make if I was able to actually dedicate all of my time to it. I know how to make jewelry (solder, carve, pierce, cast, CAD design, 3D printing etc), I know some leather working, ceramics. Lately I've focused on fiber arts - weavings, sewing, natural dyes. This past summer I started a dye garden. I've grown a substantial amount of vegatables in the past, although my current home is in the woods so it's hard to find a spot with enough sun. I'm interested in learning carpentry, blacksmithing, beekeeping... you get the picture.
I am a very good and committed "worker" - I may be undervalued financially, but I am seen as an "asset to the company" and all my reviews at this company have been 100% favorable. I wonder what it would be like to devote all of my energy to my own projects. I think I'd like the chance to hire myself
I should start thinking and creating an actual plan for this. How much money could I make on my own? How few hours could I spend working total? What skill would be the most profitable? Could I continue saving at my current rate? How much longer do I need to stay at this office?