Taking a year off work…

I am? No way!! I am SO excited.

Ummm…wrong. There’s zero chance of this happening. The person who mentioned they’d heard I was taking a year off had been mis-informed. Or they’d read too much into one of my recent posts. Turns out it was the latter.

A couple of weeks ago I was at a dinner with about forty of my “colleagues”. They get quotation marks because most of these people are senior members of the Big International Firm (BIF) where I work. So in theory I was at dinner with forty of my bosses.

One of them happens to be a Facebook friend (we can talk about the wisdom of this some other time) and therefore sees this blog. Given that he’d asked about my taking a year off before I’d even had the meeting in Central Park A, his assumption stemmed from my 11th of December entry where all I said was “… over the course of the next year, I’m going to buy my life back.”

That someone at BIF would read that and think, ‘well, the only way that’s possible is to take a year off’ tells you all you need to know about my employer.

Lots of people at BIF want their life back. Unfortunately, quitting, being fired or taking time off to go get an MBA are pretty much the only options available. It’s just one of those all-or-nothing workplaces.

After I’d replied to my dinner companion that no, he was mistaken, I sat there thinking wouldn’t it be fantastic if I were. If I had the money to do this and if no-one stole my job while I was out.

But just to be clear Counting Zeros is not the year-long account of how I saved enough money to quit my job or found the cash and the confidence to take a year off from it.

Counting Zeros is a much bigger game and it has longer term horizons.

The plan is to fix my whole life! by facing my financial fuckwittery.

And for everyone out there who might respond that money isn’t everything, I’d argue that it certainly interferes with just about everything.

My aim is to overcome some deeply entrenched habits which taken together make me a fool and a slave to my financial incompetence. I’m talking about severe avoidance when it comes to opening my post (or ‘the mail’ as we say in the US), claiming my expenses, remembering which bank accounts I use for what reason never mind where I hid the passwords to each. And I’m talking about deeper issues, beyond creating general chaos around how I manage my money — like how I spend it, how I give my money away and how I earn it in the first place.

To achieve my wild (and currently, vague) ambitions I’m taking myself through a 52-week experiment to see if I can’t re-wire some of my worst habits, deepest fears and weirdest circular thoughts. There are 3 basic materials designed to help me do this: 

A pack of playing cards

A special set of ground rules

And this blog

… the details of each of these shall be unveiled on New Year’s Day in the last of this series pre-game installments. And for all of you out there who like the idea of getting more in control of money in order to become less dependent on it, count yourself officially invited to play along with me.


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