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S2 E11: "I tripped and fell into a career I don't like. How do I reinvent myself?"

Season 2, Episode 11: “I Tripped and Fell into a Career I Don’t like. How Do I Reinvent Myself?”

If you’re new here, let me get you up to speed: personal finance is personal. And as a result, it’s also often complicated—a Choose Your Own Adventure with multiple right answers and mitigating circumstances.

Which is why it is so easy to feel stuck in your career or financial journey. What do you do when you’re just fine… but you want more? How do you overcome crippling stagnation? How do you justify leaving the safety of your established, safe career… and risk everything to leap headlong toward your dreams?

Alternatively: when is the safe and not-super-fulfilling job sometimes exactly what you need? What could you do with the excess creative mental energy that a boring day job affords?

All these questions (and much talk of Spiderman!) on this week’s episode.

This week’s question

Today’s letter comes to us from Patreon donor Marta. And it’s a long one, but full of the kind of ambiguities and complexities we think y’all are gonna find resonant af. Marta asks:

I’m writing in hope of some advice, or probably just to get out of my own head and get an outsider’s perspective, because I’ve thought about this WAY too much.

I’m in my thirties, and I moved to a Richer Country from a Poorer Country (all within Europe) a few years ago. I had some truly shit jobs for a while, but got incredibly lucky eventually, and landed in my current job in December of 2018. I work for a charity that aligns with my values very well. I have a good boss. I’m paid reasonably well—my salary circles around average for my job title in my city, though I could probably make 20% more in a bigger charity, with the experience I now have.

Trouble is… I don’t really like my job? I’m an office manager/jack of all trades assistant, and I’m damn good at it, but I didn’t choose to do it out of a passion for filing invoices and fixing trivial IT problems. I chose it because I had a wide variety of skills that you don’t need a degree for (I have a degree, but it’s purely academic), and people like me are very appealing to small organizations that want one person to fill all the gaps. It was never going to be a long-term plan; I just wanted something that would pay rent while I found my feet in a new country. I don’t want to be solving other people’s petty problems ten years from now.

Now that my two-year mark on the job is slowly approaching, I don’t know what to do. Moving to a different role in the same organization is not an option; we’re too small for that. Do I try to pursue a career in corporate/charity internal training (very appealing, no idea how to even start)? Do I try moving to a different job despite being comfortable, so my CV doesn’t look like I’m too stagnant? Do I stay and buckle down and write after hours to fulfill my dream of writing a novel? (How do I deal with the emotional fallout of never being able to publish that novel, which is very likely?)

Do I just keep this job and wait until some kind of an opportunity presents itself? I appreciate that no one can solve this problem apart from me, and it’s seven kinds of immature to expect you’ll magically give me the golden answer based on a few paragraphs of summary. But it was kind of therapeutic to just write it out and know someone sympathetic will read it. Your blog has been consistently excellent at filling long social-distancing weekends, so thanks for that! Stay safe, and please don’t let The Evil Chicken bring you down.

– Patron Marta

Many thanks to Marta for acknowledging my horrendous struggles with Tammy Two, the Chicken from Hell.

Want to read more on the topic of career advancement? We gotchu:

Laddies and germs… we love our Patreon donors. Without them there would be no podcast, no blog, and no social media following for us to turn to in our moments of boredom. In exchange for their generous support, our patrons get to vote on new article topics every month, get to ask us questions directly, get exclusive merch, and get to be our moms! So if you would like access to all of these Bitchy extras plus videos of us doing dumb things, you can join our Patreon right here.

Technical knowledge and industry experience are far less important than the "softer skills" of managing people, priorities, information, time, and (most importantly) yourself.

Your College Major May Not Prepare You for Your Job—but It Can Prepare You for Life

How much does your college major matter? The answer varies a lot, depending on which industry you’re trying to break into.

For example, I’m a white collar worker, and work alongside folks with undergraduate degrees in history, finance, literature, and psychology. Yet I’ve noticed among medical professionals, it is generally frowned upon to dispense medical wisdom under the mighty authority of a BA in Film Criticism. Hmm. Curious!

I spend a lot of time working with recent graduates in the course of my Clark Kent day job. And I’ve noticed that a lot of them seem apologetic or insecure about their majors, especially when those majors don’t relate directly to the assigned task.

Just the other day, I was getting sloppy with my speech in a one-on-one meeting with a mentee, using too many unnecessary bits of industry jargon. “I’m so sorry,” she said, “but could you please explain what that means? I love marketing, but I only found that out about myself once I started doing internships in my senior year. It was too late to change my major, so I’m really behind.”

It kinda broke my heart! (And was totally my bad. I didn’t need to say “stakeholder feedback needs to be strategically leveraged against known best practices” when I could’ve just said “clients are ignorant babies, ignore them whenever possible.”) There’s a learning curve for every new job, no matter how familiar you are with the industry; no reasonable person expects you to instantaneously intuit absolutely everything.

I think a lot of our readers could benefit from a healthy reminder that you bring great value to your job role just by being you, regardless of what you studied in school or learned in internships. In my observation, technical know-how and industry experience are far less important than the “soft skills” of managing people, priorities, time, data, and (most importantly) yourself.

Piggy and I have our own observations, but they’re based on the narrow experiences we’ve lived or observed firsthand. So I thought I’d float this discussion in our Patreon community. I asked donors for their insights into skills and habits they learned in their majors, and how it serves them in the job role they perform today. And like the dedicated employees of the United States Postal Service, they delivered!

The best advice comes from real, lived experiences—and the more diverse, the better. Here’s hoping this advice will inspire younger readers who are still deciding on this issue, as well as more established folks who may be questioning the feasibility of a major career shift.

… Omg, a “major” career shift! Get it??

Here are some things that your “off-topic” major might teach you…

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Season 2 Episode 10: "Which is Smarter: Getting a Loan? or Saving up to Pay Cash?"

Season 2, Episode 10: “Which Is Smarter: Getting a Loan? or Saving up to Pay Cash?”

The financial lessons we received from our parents are problematic for many reasons.

For one thing, they’re often out of date, as the economic atmosphere of the 1970s and 1980s is a far cry from what we’ve experienced in a post-2008 world. We’re long past the quaint advice to pay for college by “getting a summer job” and to start a career by “walking into a business and asking for a job in the mailroom.” Heckin precious.

But there’s also the way an assumption of background knowledge can lead to further confusion. For if you don’t understand basic financial principles, the sweet knowledge nuggets your beloved Boomer dad drops on you might go down like lead balloons. Just as you can’t understand where Beyoncé came from without Destiny’s Child, you can’t talk about getting loans until you understand how interest works!

This week we’re dealing with just this issue. Petey is one of my oldest and strangest friends. I made him walk down the aisle with Kitty at my wedding in the hopes that those two weirdos would have a vulgar joke-off (alas, they conducted themselves with the decorum expected of a bridesmaid and a groomsman and saved the nasty shit for the dance floor).

Petey has his head all in a tizzy over his dad’s vague and incomplete financial advice. So we decided to set the poor boy straight!

This week’s question

Today’s letter comes to us from Piggy’s friend Petey. He asks:

How do you know when it’s the right decision to get a loan rather than paying for something with cash on hand? My dad always tells me to “compare the interest rates against the rate of inflation and stock market dividends” which like… what?

For more on loans, down payments, and inflation, check out these articles:

Our patrons are the reason for the season. Without their generous support and positive affirmations, we would be like Tinkerbell, dying for lack of applause! Which is why we bestow all kinds of exclusive Bitches Get Riches content upon our patrons. You can join their ranks over on our Patreon!

Season 2 Episode 9: "I Volunteer in My Free Time. Should I Focus on Making Money Instead?"

Season 2, Episode 9: “I Use My Free Time to Volunteer. Should I Focus on Making Money Instead?”

You’re employed. You’re making enough money to live on and putting a little away for the future. And you’re filling your free time with stuff you find enjoyable and fulfilling.

… but is it enough?

This week we handle the nagging feeling that you should be doing more with your time. It’s hard to fight against the advice that you need a second income stream, the coveted “side hustle”, even when in reality you’re doing just fine. It’s all tied into that most frightening of the coronavirus pandemic’s side effects: productivity porn.

And if that wasn’t enough terror, we slip in a real palm-sweaty story about that one time

KITTY READ PIGGY’S DIARY

and

WAS TOTALLY CAUGHT RED-HANDED, THAT FUCKING SNAKE!!

This week’s question

Today’s letter comes to us from Tumblr follower DefineValidCharacters. They ask:

Hello Bitches. I currently have a full-time job that doesn’t pay the best but it’s enough to support my lifestyle. I also volunteer around twenty hours a week, sometimes more. The volunteering is really rewarding and I enjoy every second, but I’m wondering if that time would be better spent getting a second job or learning a new skill to improve my finances?

For more on side gigs, second jobs, and volunteering, read these finely curated articles:

None of this would be possible without our patrons. The podcast—let alone the blog!—would be just figments of our imaginations were it not for the generous, incredible, conventionally attractive people who make up our Patreon. In exchange for their generous support, we bestow upon our patrons lots of fun shit—like exclusive merch, polls on article topics, direct 24/7 access to the Bitches, and embarrassing videos of us doing stuff! If you want to support us with your dollars as well as your words of affirmation, join our Patreon today!

If someone else's generosity makes you uncomfortable, dig deep and figure out why. Your gut may be telling you something your brain ain't ready to hear.

Ask the Bitches: “How Do I Put a Stop to Unwanted Monetary Gifts?”

Since we’re all living through fairly doomy and gloomy times, I want to occasionally slip in a question that’s firmly in the category of a nice-to-have problem.

Just such a question appeared in our Patreon inbox this week. (Patreon donors get direct access to the single glowing brain that Piggy and I share, and can ask us questions directly, which we are guaranteed to answer!) Since this question involves some venting about their family members, I’ll protect their identity by calling them Fran.

Hey Powerful Sunflowers, 

I’m a financially secure adult in my late twenties. My husband and I are homeowners and prolific savers. We’re doing great! However, my parents still insist on treating us like kids.

My father loves to give me money anytime I go to visit. It was awesome when I was in college, but started to feel infantilizing as I’ve grown. So I started to refuse to take his money, but he sneaks it into my purse!

It’s always more than a hundred dollars. Sometimes much more. 

I donate it when I find it, but it’s still frustrating! I really do not need or want my parents’ money. So it’s partially a money question and partially a relationship question. Is there anything I can do to stop taking the money? And if not, is there a better way to be using it? 

Thanks Bitches.

– Patreon Donor Fran
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S2 E8: "A fancy restaurant mislead me! Was I right to refuse to pay the bill?"

Season 2, Episode 8: “A Fancy Restaurant Misled Me! Was I Right to Refuse to Pay the Bill?”

We Bitches are many things—king makers, trendsetters, practitioners of all the best grandma hobbies. We’re also unapologetically obsessed with r/AmItheAsshole, Reddit’s glorious channel dedicated to the important and if-you-had-to-ask-you-already-know question “Am I the Asshole?”

This week we just could not fucking resist pulling a money-related question straight from r/AITA. Trust me: it was worth it. Dedicated readers and listeners will recall just how strongly we feel about the etiquette of tipping servers in these United States. So naturally, this one got our hackles up. Hopefully it will get your *cackles* up!

Read on for a phonetic spelling of gnocchi from an irritatingly oblivious guy who “likes to eat,” but only if the food is stolen and/or McDonalds. And ladies (just making an educated guess here), he’s recently single!

This week’s question

Today’s letter comes to us from Reddit because we couldn’t fucking resist the bait:

Am I the asshole for refusing to pay at a restaurant that was false advertising?

So my girlfriend (her 27, me 28) wants to go to this fancy new restaurant in the city that she’s heard good things about. We get there and it seems like one of those hipster places but whatever, I’m hungry. I look at the menu and this place is crazy expensive—like every dish is more than $15-$20 and half the ingredients I’ve never heard of. I order the bison steak ($26) and my girlfriend orders some weird pasta, noki I think ($18). Very important, these were listed as ENTREES on the menu. Mind you, with drinks plus tip this is going to come out to over $60, which is already ridiculous for dinner for two people.

So anyway we order as we are starving. My steak arrives and I am shocked, it’s like 6 small pieces of sliced steak with some weird sauce on the side and a small handful of salad. I joke to the waiter ‘where’s the rest of my steak?’ and he explains they serve smaller portions at this restaurant because they focus on getting the highest quality ingredients. I don’t care if this bison was blessed by the Pope himself! It’s absurd to charge that much for such a small bit of steak, it’s highway robbery. When I go to restaurants I expect an entree to fill me up and be enough for leftovers.

I’m complaining to my girlfriend and she’s getting annoyed with me. Similar situation with her pasta, it was like maybe 12 pieces of noki dressed up with some frou frou bullshit.

Granted, the food was pretty good but I cannot get over how tiny these portions are. I’m a big guy and I like to eat, what can I say?

When the waiter comes back I inform him we will not be paying for our meal, and that they are falsely advertising entrees that barely qualify as a light snack. My girlfriend is begging me to stop but that’s where we’re different, I don’t let businesses push me around and rip me off.

A manager comes and apologizes but asks us to leave. I don’t end up paying as they realized I called them out on their bullshit. My girlfriend is silent the entire time on the way back. I’m still hungry so I drive through McDonald’s and get a burger, and when I did that she asked to be dropped off at her place.

It’s now the next day and I’m starting to think I didn’t handle the situation as well as I could have (I could have probably just asked for a discount). My girlfriend hasn’t responded to my texts so now I’m starting to think I’m an asshole. Am I the asshole?

SPOILER ALERT: YES.

True fact: the cutting room floor of this episode is a mess of sighs, groans, the whisper of our fingertips rubbing our temples, and one primal indignant scream. We’re big guys, and we like to scream, what can we say!

For more on the topics of tipping and how to not be a garbage person:

Our patrons are the sole reason this online media empire exists. Without them, we would be but wraiths, drifting upon the mists of the moors in a Brontë novel! So thanks to our Patreon donors! Our patrons get exclusive Bitchy goodies like 24/7 Q&A support, chic merchandise, the ONLY videos on the internet of us acting like fools (though many very sedate and demure videos exist), and polls on future article topics every month.

So if you’re a big guy and you like to eat, what can you say you want to become a patron of Bitches Get Riches, head on over to our Patreon page!

I just made $1,900 very quickly and very easily. And you may be able to as well--but only if you're irresponsible and disorganized.

The Suspicious but TRUE Magic of Unclaimed Property: How I Made $1,900 in 10 Minutes Just by Being a Disorganized Mess of a Human Being

It’s hard to pinpoint which personal finance site I dislike the most. There are so many tone-deaf mansplainers and pyramid scammers to choose from!

… But The Penny Hoarder is way up there.

I see their ads everywhere. And I’ve read more than a few of their articles, thanks to their scientifically-engineered-for-maximum-clickbait titles. But they are so utterly and embarrassingly saturated with affiliate referral links promising “quick” and “easy” money that I feel the strong need to shower afterwards.

Ugh. I just really hate that kind of crap.

Spoiler alert, kids: almost nothing worth doing can be done quickly or easily. By definition, people only seek quick and easy solutions to long and hard problems! “One cool trick” ads ain’t out there saving lives.

  • If there were miracle exercises that gave you Jason Momoa’s body with only ten minutes of weekly exercise, there would be no highly compensated personal trainers in LA, and everyone would look like Jason Momoa. (And what a lovely planet that would be!)
  • If there were miracle diets or supplements that could really change the shape of your body quickly and easily, we’d’ve discovered them millennia ago, because there is nothing on this green earth that a human being hasn’t shoved in their pie hole. The only truly new food we have invented in the last ten thousand years is Velveeta, and in my hands-on experience, eating Velveeta initiates a slow process of becoming Velveeta.
  • If there were some miracle product that could eliminate acne, there wouldn’t be 2.5 aisles full of hundreds of different skincare products at Target. We would just use The One!

The same is absolutely true for money as well. If it could grow on trees, there’d be a fuck ton more arborists. Alas, currency is a scarce commodity that’s difficult and time-consuming to accumulate by its very nature.

I say all of this so that you understand how shocked I am to be writing an article with this headline… and meaning every word of it.

I just made $1,900 very quickly and very easily. And you may be able to make money in the exact same way—but it only works if you are as irresponsible and disorganized as I am.

Intrigued? Mwa ha ha… good.

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Mountains of debt cannot be repaid just by packing lunches and cutting cable. Those are comforting bedtime stories we tell ourselves about capitalism.

The Real Story of How I Paid Off My Mortgage in 4 Years

As of fifteen minutes (and one very cold beer) ago, I officially own the beautiful house I’m sitting in right now.

My partner and I have been refreshing our mortgage account every few hours today, waiting for the final payment to process. (Weirdly, you have to WIRE the final payment. Seriously? After this years-long relationship of sending personal check after personal check, our mortgage lender refuses to trust us at the finish line? Fine, whatever…) Just before the close of the day, it happened.

Current principal balance: $0.00.

$0.00.

My mortgage is gone. I am done paying rent. If all things go according to plan, I will never ever pay rent again for as long as I live. Let’s talk about it!

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Season 2, Episode 3: "Why is my girlfriend pissed at me for being generous?"

Season 2, Episode 3: “Why Is My Girlfriend Pissed at Me for Being Generous?”

We have friends in real life.

No really, we do!

Why don’t you ever hear about them? They, uh, live in Canada…?

This week’s question comes from one of our IRL pals, whom we’ve called Will. He’s in conflict with his girlfriend over money. Specifically, she seems to be giving a lot of side-eye to his personal generosity—especially when the beneficiaries of that generosity are her family members.

Luckily for Will, one of our main skills is guessing why women are mad.

This week’s question

Will (who definitely isn’t a former prosecutor and current Senator for the state of California) asks…

My girlfriend and I are sort of fighting over money. When we first met, I had NOTHING. Like, sleeping-in-my-car nothing. But in the last three years my career miraculously rocketed into the stratosphere. I’m making SO MUCH MONEY. Meanwhile, her career has kind of plateaued. She’s working hard, but not getting ahead. Meanwhile I’m getting tired of winning.

But the real issue is she’s mad about how I spend my money. I don’t mean I waste it all. Nope, instead I’m making up for all the times friends helped me. Humble brag, but I’m ridiculously generous right now and I love it. I give friends gifts, pay for dinner, and tip big all the time. I’m sure this attitude will wear off eventually, but right now I’m just enjoying spoiling the people I love, INCLUDING MY GIRLFRIEND.

But recently when her sister said she couldn’t afford a $300 class to finish getting her social work degree, I just gave her the money. I was happy to do it: it would improve her life, the money was nothing to me, and I’m sure she’ll pay it forward. But my girlfriend was PISSED and I don’t quite understand what I did wrong. Can you do your feminist-to-dumb-guy translation here and help out ya boi?

– IRL Pal Will

Oh, we have theories. In fact, I’d say this whole episode is brought to you by “women’s intuition.” Which is a thing that has actual scientific basis! Yeah, man, it’s just like, soooooooo weird that people who are socialized from earliest infancy to pacify and accommodate others under implicit threat of physical violence get pretty good at reading the intentions of others… I wonder what kinds of exciting shit we already know that science will discover next!

Like our ~romantic~ advice? I mean, okay, here’s some more:

Thanks again to our generous Patreon donors for their support. Without it, this season simply would not be. If you want to join the ranks of Bitches Get Riches supporters (and get your name read aloud on an episode of the podcast) head on over to our Patreon!

As Johnnie Cochran would say: if the interest rate's nil, don't pay that bill!

Ask the Bitches: “The Government Put My Student Loans in Forbearance. Can I Really Stop Paying—or Is This a Trap?”

So… I made a mistake.

Our Patreon donors have been so wise with choosing quality topics in the past. So this month, I invited our supporters to pitch article topics directly to us.

Sounds great, right? WRONG. This was a huge mistake because all of our supporters’ ideas are fucking great! Now I have no choice: I simply must write them all. When am I supposed to do my life’s most important work: incorrectly cutting the wood for my woodworking project, then driving to Lowe’s to buy more wood???

This is technically incorrect. Piggy is the Chip.

One question stood out as being particularly time-sensitive, so today I’m answering this question from Patreon Rachel, who we all know to be so glitteringly beautiful that she’s regularly mistaken for an ice sculpture of herself:

I’d love to know your thoughts on U.S. federal student loans currently being deferred with no interest. Is it smart to continue to make my regular payments? Or should I stop making payments and use that money to invest in other things?

– Patreon Donor Rachel

An excellent question! Today we’ll address the basics of student loan forbearance, including how it pertains to the CARES Act. (That’s the $2 trillion stimulus package we explained here.)

Luckily there’s a fairly definitive answer, which I am just barely capable of explaining in human speech. Let’s get into it!

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