I want to reduce the hours I spend at my job.

money-happiness-scale

In order to pay my bills and keep a roof over my head, I currently work for a housecleaning company. I actually don’t mind the work but the job can be VERY physically stressful (though it does keep me in shape and saves me the expense of a gym membership). I also don’t like the way things in the home office are run (I will not go into details here) or the blatant favoritism I have to deal with constantly (which seems to exist in most service jobs).

The office politics really stresses me out and as with most of the other service jobs I’ve held, I’ve reached a point of burnout where I really dread even going to work anymore. I do not really want to look for yet another crappy service job, and writing jobs in this area are practically nonexistent, unless you have a journalism degree which is required to write for one of the local newspapers. Obviously, I’d rather write for a living. I actually used to, when I lived in the northeast about 20 years ago.

If I could, I would write all day, every day. I want more time than the weekends and evenings to do this (because I’m simply too exhausted sometimes to write as much as I’d like). Sometimes I wind up staying up until 2 or 3 in the morning to catch up on reading and posting, but of course then I’m in no condition to be at my job at 8 in the morning. At my age, trying to get by on 3-4 hours of sleep is very unhealthy and then I go to work feeling like absolute crap.

So until something better comes along, I’m considering going from fulltime to part time–working only 4 days a week instead of 5. The job doesn’t offer health insurance anyway, so I really wouldn’t be losing anything except a day’s pay.

My conundrum is that even working 5 days a week, I barely earn enough to pay my bills. I don’t even have cable TV anymore because I can’t afford it (not that I need it). I never go on vacations, not even weekend getaways. I can’t even afford the movies. I drive a 13 year old car with expired tags because I can’t afford to have the repairs done that would get it to pass inspection. My disposable income is almost nonexistent–it actually qualifies me as “poverty level” according to the national tables. So obviously I really can’t afford to lose a day of work.

On the other hand, why should my life consist of spending most of it doing something I don’t really want to be doing? Our narcissistic Powers That Be would like to keep most of us working like dogs, earning slave wages, and possibly dying an early death due to work-related stress with no health insurance or safety nets at all should we become ill, but dammit, I am sick to death of being one of the sheep that feeds their coffers but gets nothing in return but a bare-survival income that does nothing for me but keeps me from being on the streets.

I need an extra day to relax and write as much as I want, and even start writing a book. It’s hard to squeeze everything I’d like to do into weekends and evenings. But the money situation is worrisome too. So I’d like to get your opinions on what YOU would do if you were in my shoes.

Is “survival money” more important than doing something you love, even if that thing you love pays nothing? Or is it better to take the risk to chase happiness and have faith that somehow, even with less time spent working at a humdrum job, the money you need will still be there?

Please do not suggest I approach my family for help. That is not an option for me.