Another day at work. Flickr user philandpam, CC BY 2.0

Daydreaming About Quitting Your Desk Job: What’s Your Plan B?

Family GeekMom
Another day at work. Flickr user philandpam, CC BY 2.0
Another day at work. Photo: Flickr user philandpam, CC BY 2.0.

My husband and I met in the Computer Science department in grad school. I was working on my master’s degree, him his PhD. When things got rough, we daydreamed of a more simple life. We’d buy a ranch somewhere quiet and raise alpacas. We started calling this daydream our plan B: What we’d do if this whole “technology” thing didn’t work out.

In our plan B, we’d work outdoors all day, with the sun warming our skins and our lungs full of fresh air. Our bodies would be active, and our brains free to ponder the meaning of life. We would certainly not be stuck in a poorly-lit, air-conditioned computer lab all day (and most nights), trying to find a particularly well-hidden bug or meet a short deadline.

Our grad school days are long gone, but as two employed programmers, our lives are not much different than they used to be as Computer Science students. We’re still stuck indoors. We’re still dealing with bugs and deadlines. Don’t get me wrong, we love what we do… most of the time. But every once in a while, when one of us has a really bad day, it’s comforting to know we can come home and laugh about being ready to switch to plan B.

I always thought my husband and I were just weirdos with strange ideas, but one day I brought it up at work when my team was facing some difficult problems. I joked that we should just give up and start an alpaca ranch. To my surprise, they didn’t think it was crazy. In fact, they already had plan Bs of their own. One of my coworkers said he always daydreamed of being a garbage truck driver, one a farmer, the last a barber. The common thread was obvious; we all had a romanticized blue-collar escape from our white-collar reality.

Of course, the grass is always greener on the other side. But it’s always nice to dream.

What about you, do you have a plan B?

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13 thoughts on “Daydreaming About Quitting Your Desk Job: What’s Your Plan B?

  1. Oh heck yeah! My dream is to build a tiny house that’s net zero energy and water and raise cattle. Or write.

  2. Ever since our Hawaii honeymoon, my husband and I have talked wistfully about moving to the Big Island and opening some sort of shop there!

    1. We went a couple of years ago. We keep saying, hey, we could program from anywhere in the world, why not on the porch of a house in Hawaii?! We just have to decide, condo by the beach of an acre of land in the mountains?

  3. Hey, can I meet the garbage collector coleague? I had that plan B as plan A when I was in kindergarden. Then I grew up and choose plan B (developer) as a living, not regretting it too much.

    1. Probably a wise decision, although I have heard that garbage can be quite a lucrative business. Not sure how true that is…

  4. My “plan B” is to move to Florida, live in Disney World’s hotels, eat in their restaurants, and generally enjoy their parks. I’d make money by writing a blog about my experiences.

    I’m not sure exactly *HOW* I’d earn a living doing this, but I’m still calling this my Plan B.

  5. Hey, I like TechyDad’s idea, sounds good to me!

    I think I’ve got probably 3 plan Bs. One involves farming, one involves prepping other people’s vehicles for overland/expedition travel, and the last involves doing overland/expedition travel myself and doing photography and writing. I might have to add the Disney thing to my list too though…

  6. Mine is to be independently wealthy and just have a lot of hobbies. Reading/Writing, bike riding, snow skiing, hiking, traveling, playing with the arduino, robots, etc.

    Of course the hard part is the independently wealthy thing! I haven’t figured that one out yet. Let me know if you do!

  7. My Plan C looks remarkably similar to your Plan B — we have started a homestead, and Plan C would be working it full-time. (Photo from this past weekend.)

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