Monday, October 27, 2008

Going Off the Grid

I'm approaching my ten-month anniversary of "going off the grid" at the end of this week-- meaning that I wrapped up my final days in my 9-5 corporate career in finance just before Christmas last year and have been blazing a new trail ever since.

That being said, I've obviously have a lot of time to ponder what life is like "off the grid"--both good and bad--and want to spend the next week talking out-loud about it if that's okay.  

So, for starters, I see "going off the grid" as intentionally unplugging from the standard "power source" prescribed for young women in my generation.  In my experience, this unplugging happened in three areas:

1.  rethinking the 9-5.  I was faithfully clocking in my hours in a respectable career that I had worked really hard to break into, but I was unhappy.  I saw lots of other women doing well in my company, and they seemed energized and motivated to move forward.  Meanwhile, I was desperately trying to squeeze creative activities into my sparse leisure time and daydreaming about a different life.  I wasn't exactly sure what that life looked like, much less how to get there, but I knew that I needed to find a "career" that fell outside of the traditional "career" path.  So I took the plunge, handed in my resignation, and have been living "off the grid" ever since.

2.  reviving the domestic arts.  With more time on my hands, I started to think more seriously about my role as an economist--a home economist, that is.  And not in the high-school let's-sew-a-pair-of-pajama-pants home-economist, but a genuine economic leader.  This was, of course, a real deviation from the norm.  Young women my age with my education, experiences and connections aren't supposed to seek out an apron!  I was stepping off the grid again.

3.  unplugging from the Clever Consumer Cycle.  I'd been questioning the value of the rat-race for years--the work to get paid to buy stuff as cheaply as possible leading you to want to buy more stuff and then work some more.  Leaving the 9-5 and picking up some domestic arts only strengthened my questioning.  Was this really what life was about?  I mean, what did my spending say about my values?  How mindful was I being with my resources?  What about my debt?  And so on and so on.  Going off the grid has seriously dampened this persistent cycle, and for the better in my opinion.

So, in a nutshell, going off the grid for me meant that I had to rethink career, home and consumption.  And I'm still in the process of...well, processing it all.  

What do you think?  Do you think I'm a fool for quitting the 9-5?  A feminist traitor for pursuing domesticity?  An idealist for questioning modern consumerism?  Or have you, too, stepped off the grid and can relate to my story?  Share by commenting here or emailing me at

Stay tuned tomorrow when I talk about some of those sticky ideological constraints to living off the grid, and later today when I introduce another Marketplace Maven (Yay!).

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