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Episode 005: “I Don’t Love My Job, but It Pays Well. Should I Quit—or Tough It Out?”



Today’s podcast question comes to us from Patreon donor Rachel. She’s in a good situation overall: stable, paying down debt quickly, and gainfully employed as an engineer.

But her feelings about engineering overall are, mmm… tepid.

Shall we slap her for even considering leaving a lucrative and in-demand field? Or shall we kiss her on both cheeks and push her off the gravy train? You’ll have to listen to find out!

Today’s question

“I’m an engineer, I’ve been working for five years, and I don’t think it’s something I’ve ever truly been passionate about. My experiences have made me realize just how much I love project management. That can be done as an engineer, yes, but those jobs are fewer and more far in between.

“I’m thinking of branching out, but honestly, I’m scared. What if I don’t like it? What if I can’t get back into the engineering field once I’ve been gone for so long? The job I have now (along with my wife’s) gives us ample salaries that allow us to save and pay down debt like crazy. I can’t say that the security of those salaries isn’t alluring, though I hate to be tied to a job just because of the money.

“I don’t want to fuck myself over in the long run. I want to ‘retire’ early and spend my life doing the things I love. But I also don’t want to be unhappy at work. Please send help. 🙏”

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How NOT to Determine Your Salary

Last week I was chatting with a rad young lady who is about to start her final semester of college. When the subject of careers and negotiation came up, I couldn’t contain my enthusiasm. (“Teaching young people how to negotiate their salaries” is what I write down on the religion line on surveys.)

I asked what salary range she was asking for, and she quickly answered: “$37,000.”

It struck me as an unusual number for two reasons:

  • First, it seemed mighty low. Many people live happy, stable lives on as much or less—but she was a high-achieving college student entering a STEM field in one of the ten most expensive American cities. I expected double or triple that amount.
  • Second, what’s with the non-round number? Usually when people talk about hypothetical large numbers, they do so in intervals of fives and tens. It’s why the JonBenét ransom note haunts us all to this day! (And by “us” I mean rubberneckers who were alive in the 90s and/or true crime nerds. Surely everyone belongs in one of those demographics.)

So I dug deeper. “Why that number?”

She explained that she sat down with a notebook and wrote down all the expenses she might have in a given month. “Rent, internet, groceries, student loans, car insurance… I added it all up, multiplied by twelve, and added 10% for savings. It came out to $36,200, so I rounded up just to be safe.”

My nurturing altruism joined forces with my baser capitalist instincts to manifest a camera to do a dolly zoom on my horrified face.

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Common Job Interview Questions and How to Answer Them with the Confidence of a Mediocre White Dude

Ah, the ubiquitous job interview. A necessary if painful step toward acquiring a job—any job! Just as nobody actually loves Rod Stewart as a musician or liver and onions as an entrée, nobody actually loves interviewing for jobs. Literally nobody.

And yet being good at job interviews is an invaluable skill. Especially if you’d like to become employed at some point in your life. And barring any hyper-intelligent dolphins or useless heirs to a corporate empire reading this article, that’s all of you.

We’ve already talked about what to do when you get asked about your salary during a job interview (a question that is as unethical as it is manipulative). But how about some of those other common, annoying interview questions? The ones you can count on getting, and that you dread like a combination root canal and pap smear?

I scoured the Internet for literally dozens of minutes to find brilliant answers to some of those awful job interview questions. And what I found filled me with hope!

I’m going to break down some of the most annoying and tricky job interview questions and how to answer them with at least the confidence and poise of the mediocre white man more likely to be hired than you.

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Podcast Episode 001: "Should I tell my boss I'm looking for another job?"

Episode 001: “Should I Tell My Boss I’m Looking for Another Job?”



That’s right. We’ve already teased this information, but it’s true.

Piggy and I stared deeply into each other’s eyes, communicated our love and dedication from a realm beyond words, pulled the condom off, and decided to make a podcast baby together. Here’s hoping it inherits her lustrous hair and my mighty wrists, which can open any jar!

Listen above—or look for Bitches Get Riches in the podcast app of your choice!

Today’s Question

When, if ever, is it good/OK to tell people you’re job hunting in your current place of employment? For example, is it ever a good/OK idea to: tell a friendly coworker, either just for moral support, or to ask them to keep an eye out for opportunities, or help you brainstorm your strengths so you can position yourself well for what’s next?

What about with a superior at your current job? Is there a useful way to bring this up in the form of negotiation to get something you want at your current job? Or does it just put you at risk to let them know you’re looking elsewhere? I have been told that in the world of academia, it’s typical to tell your institution that you’ve been invited to interview elsewhere in order to renegotiate your position. But it’s hard for me to picture doing this in working environments I’ve been in.

Special shoutout to Patreon donor V.B. for this question. And props in general to all of our Patreon donors, who gave us so much valuable feedback on our pilot episode.

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Masterpost 2: Career Advice

{ MASTERPOST } Everything You Need to Know about Getting a Job, Raise, or Promotion

You were told never to enter the crypt… told that the sacred knowledge buried there would break the minds of the weak-willed. You were told… and you disobeyed.

Now, as you creep your way forward, guttering torch in hand, you wonder if you’ve made a fatal error. The cobwebs hang thick before you, obscuring your view down the dank and musty corridor. As you descend into darkness, your courage wanes, your resolve falters. Perhaps you are not ready for the secrets buried within the Crypt of the Bitchy Ones. Perhaps no one is…

For in this ancient sepulcher lies the key to all career wisdom, the key to getting ahead and navigating the workplace as smoothly as a serpent along the dusty stones your feet now tread. And no matter the risk, no matter what haunts the hidden crypt, you will not stop until you have attained this knowledge.

When at last you enter the cavernous tomb, your torch illuminates an ancient stone plinth. Upon it rests a dusty tome. You open its cracked leather cover and begin to read…

Welcome, fellow traveler!

One of the most important factors in your path to financial independence (or at least stability) is your income. Unless you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth and a trust fund worth a tidy million or two… that means you’re going to have to work for your money.

We Bitches know about work. We’ve been cogs in the machine of production and profit for years now! And as depressing as that sounds, what it means is that we’ve both learned a thing or three about navigating the job market.

This means job hopping when necessary, competing for promotions, and yes (OH BOY, HERE COMES MY OLDEST FRIEND, ANXIETY), even asking for a raise once in a while.

We want to share that knowledge with you. It’s what we’re here for! So below is our complete catalog of knowledge on getting a job, getting a raise, getting a promotion, and staying sane at work.

Use it wisely.

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The unemployment rate for people with a bachelor's is 2.2%. For a masters, it's 2.1%.

22-Year-Olds Don’t Belong in Grad School

In my day job at a major technology company, I mentor a lot of young adults. Most of them are college-aged interns and recent graduates.

You’ll be shocked—shocked!—to learn that my mentoring sessions are popular because of their “no bullshit” vibe. If we’re getting coffee for thirty minutes, we’ll spend two of them introducing ourselves and making pleasant chit-chat about the weather. That leaves twenty-eight minutes for me to break the speed of sound delivering my very best general adulting advice.

Me, mentoring recent grads.
Not gonna lie, this is kinda the energy I bring to mentoring sessions.

I live for the moment when these young folks realize I’m here to talk straight to them. They go from having no questions (because they’re terrified of looking unprepared) to having dozens.

One question I get asked a lot is, “Should I go to grad school?”

I always say the same thing, without any hesitation.

“No.”

The last young person I was mentoring specifically asked if he should go on to grad school to get his master’s degree in Marketing Operations. Which did get me to change my stance a little bit.

Fuck no.”

There are exceptions (obviously). Every person, career, and life situation is different. There are some people who can confidently move straight from their undergraduate degree into a graduate program. And good for them! But I suspect that population is small compared to the total number of people who consider pursuing advanced degrees.

So today I’ll break down why my knee-jerk advice is always “no.” (Or “fuck no,” as the case may be.)

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For the socially awkward among us, quitting a job is as painful and difficult as shaving one's legs with a pair of dentures.

How to Quit a Job: Giving Notice with Dignity, Poise, and Tastefully Subtle Shade

For the socially awkward among us, quitting a job can seem more painful and difficult than shaving one’s legs with a pair of dentures. I should know: I’m generally an anxious wreck and I overthink everything! (Also I nick myself every time I try to shave around my knees, but that’s neither here nor there.)

It’s not the prospect of switching from one job to another that’s tough. It’s the idea of surprising another human with news that will affect their daily operations. It’s having to give a reason, explain the situation, look them in the eye and say “I’m changing things.”

The very thought reduces me to a puddle of quivering nerve endings. Not a good look.

Perhaps changing your identity, burning down the office building, and moving to Kathmandu would just be easier for everyone involved.

It’s not. But it sure is tempting!

I’ve recently had some experience with this awful process (quitting, not arson). And I’m going to share what I learned with you. Because that’s what we do here at Bitches Get Riches, where every aspect of career navigation is overthought and dissected for the benefit of the masses!

So let’s get down with the who, what, where, when, and how of quitting a job. It’s easier than you think.

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There is too much "inspiration porn" out there.

Earning Her First $100K: An Interview with Tori Dunlap

They say the first $100,000 is the hardest to save. Wunderkind personal finance guru Tori Dunlap says, “Challenge accepted.”

Kitty and I have known Tori since BGR’s inception. She virtually forced us, through sheer tenacity and brilliance, to adopt her as our little sister—our more knowledgeable, successful, savvy, and funny little sister who in every way exceeds the promise of this very blog and inspires us every day.

Like, just look at this motivational young feminist do her thang:

So when Tori announced that she was emerging from the chrysalis of rebranding into a new feminist financial coaching venture, Her First $100K, I knew I had to pick her brains about it. I just didn’t realize I was simultaneously going to be schooled on the greatest animated movie of our time.

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Put that in your Luddite pipe and smoke it!

How to Find Remote Work: On Getting the Elusive Work-From-Home Job

Previously, on Bitches Get Riches…

Working from home can be a pretty sweet gig if you can get it, but it comes with unique challenges. Setting up a routine, taking strategically scheduled breaks, and removing distractions will help keep you on task and motivated.

Which is all well and good if you already have a job that lets you work remotely. But how does one lock down that coveted, elusive work-from-home job?

The legions of telecommuters are growing, according to the New York Times. And half of the United States workforce will soon work remotely, if Forbes is correct. Yet with all of these people gloriously working from wherever the hell they want, we still get questions from readers all the time that boil down to: “I can’t work on-site, but I also can’t seem to find any jobs that will allow me to work remotely. Where are they all hiding?”

The hunt is over, job-searchers! Here are a number of tactics for how you too can join the telecommuting army.

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Buy a fucking fern!

How to Successfully Work from Home Without Losing Your Goddamn Mind (Or Your Job)

As most (all?) of you know, I started working from home full time a little over a year ago. It’s pretty great! I’m saving a metric fuckton of money on commuting costs. Plus, I have more time in my day to devote to things other than sitting in traffic shaking my fist and cursing the futility of existence.

Before working from home.

 

After working from home.

I’m an acquiring editor at a book publishing house. This is a fancy way of saying I babysit writers and occasionally correct their constipated prose for a living. Most of my job consists of reading book proposals and telling authors why they suck. I need little more than a laptop and a cell phone to do my job.

I regularly join meetings at my corporate headquarters via phone or video conference. During these meetings, my wardrobe is generally business formal above the waist, slumber party below.

And you guys, I rock. I’m real fucking good at my job and I have the employee reviews to prove it!

While transitioning from an office to working from home was a bit of an adjustment, I’ve since developed good habits for getting quality work done efficiently and quickly.

And yet there are some stubborn bastions of luddites who absolutely insist that a white collar worker needs to come into an office every day in order to be successful. I don’t cotton to that kind of backward thinking. For one thing, it makes it harder for caregivers and disabled people to find employment. For another, it fosters a culture that negatively impacts the environment and public health.

If a worker proves herself capable of getting the job done without commuting to an office, then by Grabthar’s Hammer, she should be allowed to do so!

But the only way we’re going to spread the work from home revolution is if we all work circles around our be-cubicled counterparts. Through trial, error, and interviewing people who have been working from home much longer than I have, here’s what I’ve found to be the best work-from-home practices in the biz.

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