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Fall Update

September 22, 2015

I was doing monthly updates, but have they now become seasonal?

Money is less interesting to me than it was when I started this blog (in 2007).  It feels less urgent.  It is no longer this big unsolved problem.  There are things I should know more about, things I should spend more time on, things I should care more about.  Yet, I have enough money to feel reasonably secure, and there is no amount of money (that I’m likely to ever have) that will improve my level of security significantly.

Work has been chaotic, to put it mildly.  It has been emotional.  I take my work personally, and I can’t help it.  A lot of things happened that were no one’s fault (at least no one in my company) and were pretty difficult for our team to handle.  People we work with external to our company have made our jobs really hard, and we’re bearing the brunt of it.  Our key technical lead (who is also one of my favorites) quit the project for reasons that I respect, agree with, and support – yet I could barely look him in the eye when this was discussed, for fear that I would burst into tears.  Because the project might fall apart, and with him gone, the chances of that happening are higher.

Since the existence of my job is tied to the existence of my project, I was understandably anxious about all of this.  In bigger companies, I had the security of thinking “I’m good, they like me, they will try very hard to find a place for me.” This is a smaller place with almost no centralized staffing, and I’ve only been here 8 months.  It is harder to find places for people, and I don’t know so many people outside my team yet.  Still, I started looking at internal backup plans, and I managed to line a solid one up. Which is amazing, because I want nothing more than to do this job for a very very long time.   Anyway, the project has not fallen apart yet, but there are still a lot of unknowns on it.  At least the “can I still work here?” factor is off the table for the time being.

All of that is to point out that I never actually sat down with my spreadsheets to confirm how long we would be OK without my income.  I think the answer is indefinitely, although I have to admit I’m not sure the exact sacrifices that would require.  The answer is certainly “more than long enough”, and I’m confident enough that I could figure out a path forward if plan A didn’t work out.  I’m not saying I slept soundly each night, comfortable in this knowledge, I’m just saying that when I was feeling anxious, I could talk myself down from it.

I was anxious about the idea of looking for new job, because I love this job.  And I’m so ridiculously spoiled on my commute, and I come home (almost) every day to play with my dog, and life really just is exactly what I want.  But I was not at all worried about money or survival.  I wasn’t worried about paying bills.  I knew we could do it.  And that makes me really really grateful.

Also, dog update!   He went backpacking with us!


9 Comments leave one →
  1. September 22, 2015 9:52 pm

    Yay puppy! I told my boyfriend tonight that I’m seriously considering experimenting with no budget next year and he was very shocked.

    That sounds very stressful about your job! Mine has been really meh, to be honest, which is a refreshing change from the last couple of years I guess? I’m far more excited about grad school…

    • September 23, 2015 7:14 am

      It is/was stressful. Now that I’m less worried about a backup plan, it is mostly just frustrating and a problem to be solved. To a certain degree, I thrive on the challenge and I’m prepared to “lose” this, but it took a few weeks to get here.

      Is grad school started already? Exciting!

  2. September 23, 2015 11:32 am

    I think it’s so smart to do some of the ‘what if’ planning ahead of time so that you’re mentally prepared if things go sideways at work. I was just laid off 5 weeks before I was planning on starting maternity leave. We were ready, only because I had already done all the budgeting work for mat leave job loss, but the mental stress of ‘this has been by home away from home for 7 years’ has been a lot more difficult to process.

    • September 23, 2015 3:12 pm

      Right, can you imagine if you had to deal with money worries on top of that stress?

  3. September 23, 2015 11:33 am

    I feel the same way. I’m not worried about money, I can more than last for a while… But this contract is killing me. Emotionally and just.. stress is killing me. Sometimes the money isn’t worth it in the end. It’s such a #firstworldproblem #richperson thing to say but sometimes the money isn’t worth it.

  4. corpgirl permalink
    September 23, 2015 2:21 pm

    How do you look for internal back up plans in a place where you are still new-ish? I need to be good at that. I have been contemplating switching internally but I am concerned that whatever internal group I talk to, my manager might hear a word about it. May be its just misplaced fear..

    • September 23, 2015 3:26 pm

      To be clear, my backup plan is only to be implemented if my project falls apart – I’m pretty much committed to the project as long as it lasts, and the team sort of dissolves if the project dissolves.

      Since my manager is pretty involved in the chaotic project, and I flat out told him when a back-up plan popped up. He said “that’s probably a smart thing to do”. He doesn’t have other spots available for me on other projects, so I think he was relieved to know that he wouldn’t have to let me go entirely if it all doesn’t work.

      So I think this is a different situation than you might be facing, where it just might be a better fit to do something different internally.

      To answer the question, I really didn’t do that much. In short, I said yes whenever someone asked if I wanted to get engaged with something, and I made a good enough impression on at least two people on my current project that they were able to either offer me work or refer me to someone who might be able to. This is how things work in my environment. In some environments, it would be wildly inappropriate for someone to offer a person work without going through their manager.


  1. Moving on | Stacking Pennies

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