Weekend Post Roundup

My site might have fallen apart and required rebuilding from scratch, but that’s no reason to forget the link love this week!

This week was very exciting because So Over Debt finally reached an Alexa ranking under 200,000. What does that mean, you ask? It means I am finally eligible to become a Yakezie member! I joined the community as a challenger back in March.

Another exciting development is the creation of Yakezie teams. In order to promote and support each other’s blogs, we are now on teams of up to 15 members/challengers. This week’s post roundup will contain posts from my teammates. I hope you’ll take the time to visit each blog!

Andrea @ Nickel by Nickel posted five things she’s learned after 8 months of counting pennies. Her revelations have been similar to my own - she spent more than she thought in some areas and less than she thought in others.

Jacob @ My Personal Finance Journey has been keeping all of us reading with the Tour de Personal Finance competition, which is now in the second round of stage 8. Vote for your favorite posts!

Robert @ The College Investor posted a great article about maximizing your IRA potential. As someone who only recently learned about the wonders of IRAs, I loved the insight in this one!

Robert @ My Multiple Incomes shared his income stream for the month of June, and as someone with zero income other than wages in June, I have to say I’m pretty jealous!

Fat Guy @ Fat Guy Skinny Wallet was feeling great about money last week. I’m pretty impressed with that since I was NOT feeling so great about money!

The Penny Hoarder is giving away a $100 gas card! Don’t miss out on this one - the giveaway ends this Friday!

Ken @ Spruce Up Your Finances posted 7 quick facts about Roth IRA contributions. Again, this one was timely for me because I am all about my Roth.

So there you have it! Seven posts that are WAY more interesting than anything I’ve said lately. Happy reading!

We’re back!!!!

Okay, things are almost back to normal around here. I have been in front of my computer for about 20 hours straight, so hopefully it’s been for a good cause. Please let me know if you find a broken link or some other weirdness so I can get it fixed.

If you have linked to my old Blogger URL, guess what! That link is broken now! I don’t like asking people to update their links, but please do.

Interrupting Your Regularly Scheduled Post

I promise, guys, I’m not going to talk about my job all the time. But I can’t even finish my post for yesterday, much less today, because I’m completely unable to concentrate. If you’re sick of reading about work stuff, come back tomorrow for a real post.

The structure at my current job goes like this: my boss is the Program Director, I am the Clinical Director, there is another facility with its own Clinical Director, then there are a nurse, secretary, and therapist who are shared between the two facilities. (There’s a point in here, really.)

The Clinical Director at the other facility just had surgery and won’t be back until October. The nurse is putting in her notice next week, though our boss doesn’t know it yet. The secretary just finished her bachelors degree and took a different job within the company. We hired a new therapist who starts during my last week because the current therapist is taking my position.

Yesterday the current therapist got fired. It’s a long story that I won’t go into, but I will say that I don’t think it was really a serious enough offense for termination. She called me, hysterical, wanting comfort and advice. And I feel like a horrible person because all I could think about was how this will affect ME.

The therapist was the only other person who takes call. She was supposed to be on call this weekend, and I had big plans to get some blog posts done and clean out my basement. She was also on call every Monday when I work at my part-time job. So now I am on call 24/7 until I leave because there is no one left. And my boss is making me cancel my appointments for the other job until I go over there full time. Which means no more extra money for the rest of the month. And if those clients see another therapist in the meantime, I risk losing my caseload.

The worst part? There is a chance I won’t get to leave at the end of the month. Since I’m transferring within the company, they could make me stay there until someone is hired and trained to replace me. I was counting down the days, and now I could be stuck until September or later.

You have no idea how badly I want to go shopping right now. I’m freaking out and I have this desperate urge to go buy something to make myself feel better. But I’m not. That’s not the answer to this problem. I just wish I knew what the answer was.

Are You a Risk Taker?

Yesterday a coworker asked me if I was nervous about leaving my salaried position at the end of the month to enter the unpredictable world of billable hour therapy.

Um, duh.

The conversation quickly turned into one of those situations where she judged me by pretending to compliment me, while I stood there trying not to strangle her.

“You’re SO brave, giving up all that stability for something that could TOTALLY RUIN YOUR LIFE! I’d love to do what you’re doing, but with my kids and everything… Oh that’s right, you have a kid too! Well, I’m sure he won’t mind eating ramen noodles for dinner every night. Not that he’ll have to; I’m sure it will go GREAT!”

I smiled and nodded while containing my inner assassin, but I found myself wondering if my coworker was right. As a single parent, am I making a stupid mistake by taking a job with no guaranteed paycheck?

Cost vs. Benefits

As you guys know, I’ve spent a lot of time debating what to do with my career. On one hand, there’s my current job as director of a residential facility for kids. I have a crappy salary, I work long hours without compensation, I’m on call 15-18 days a month, and I’m so stressed I can’t sleep at night. BUT, I know exactly how much money I’ll bring home every two weeks, my bills are paid, and I’m making progress toward my debt.

On the other hand, I have the new job. Returning to full-time therapy after a two-year hiatus. Practically unlimited freedom, plus the ability to earn more than double what I make right now. More time with my son. BUT, I have no real way to predict what I’ll make because it depends on people showing up. If I don’t work, I don’t get paid.

Risk Assessment

I’ve always been a risk taker. If there’s a roller coaster, I’ll ride it. Bungee jumping? No sweat. I’ve even been known to squish spiders with my bare hand if there is no other handy way to kill them. When I think about taking risks with my finances, though, I get kind of panicky.

In my not-so-distant past, I took financial risks all the time. I had no emergency fund, I used credit cards to buy stuff I couldn’t afford, and I ignored the future because it seemed so, I don’t know, far away.

Now? I’ve made a lot of progress (pats self on back) and stopped doing dumb things. Well, for the most part. Anyway, I’ve finally gained a tiny foothold on a mini ledge of stability. It seems really dumb to throw that away. I’m worried that, despite my careful planning, the ups and downs of my paychecks will result in unnecessary purchases and/or the complete draining of my emergency fund. What if I have a car accident and can’t work? What if my ancient washer and dryer stop working? I’ve traded the stress of my current job for the potential stress of the new one, and I haven’t even started yet.

To Leap, or Not to Leap?

I’ll tell you exactly what made me decide to change jobs even though I’m freaking out a little. I’m tired of being stuck because I’m too afraid of the unknown. For years, I’ve accepted the myth that social workers can’t make money, that we’re all broke and shopping for work clothes at Goodwill (not that there’s anything wrong with Goodwill - I have found some awesome stuff there!). I accepted the myth of the struggling single mother who works herself to death to make ends meet. And I MADE A CHOICE to live and work in ways that made me unhappy to perpetuate those myths.

Straightening out my finances has empowered me to take control of other aspects of my life where I previously had no control. I decided I don’t have to do this anymore. I don’t have to work 60 hours a week for peanuts. I gave myself permission to make different choices and seek more happiness than a regular paycheck can give me. I feel fairly confident that I won’t starve to death with the new job, but I also know I’ll have to be very disciplined if I want to make it work.

I know a lot of people wouldn’t make the same choice I did. And that’s okay, if those people can live with the status quo. I couldn’t. And pretty soon you’ll all see if my gamble pays off. In a series of very lengthy posts in which I probably lose your interest after two paragraphs.

Are you a risk taker? Have you ever risked something important for the potential bigger rewards? How did it turn out for you?