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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 7: "How do I throw my incompetent coworkers under the bus?"

Season 2, Episode 7: “How Do I Throw My Incompetent Coworkers under the Bus?”

It’s with great pride I warn you to brace yourselves: this is the best/worst episode we’ve ever recorded. Listen with fascination and/or horror as Kitty and I enter the absolute peak of our quarantine cabin fever, and dwell incessantly on the following topics:

  • Kitty won’t shut up about fried chicken sandwiches.
  • She experimentally combines the chicken sandwich theme with an absolutely disgusting sexual metaphor, for absolutely no reason.
  • Piggy blows a year’s worth of bottled self-confidence to boldly insist that Hugh Laurie was in Home Alone.
  • Shrek memes? Shrek memes.

It’s all in the service of answering a thorny listener question about coworkers. Specifically, the kind of coworkers that make messes and leave others to clean up.

Shitty coworkers: may you never know them, may you never be them.

Yet sometimes they can’t be avoided. This week on the podcast, we’re delving deep into the seedy underworld of shitty coworkers and what to do about them.

Do you try to manage their behavior, adding more work to your schedule by babysitting their incompetent asses? Do you confront them directly? Do you suffer in silence, hoping the misery they cause will guilt them into shaping up? Or do you bide your time, waiting for the right moment to sabotage their entire livelihood in the eyes of your supervisor?

Special thanks to J. D. Roth, who singlehandedly got the Hamilton soundtrack stuck in my head last week. He will pay for his crimes.

We discuss all these tactics and more in a particularly bitchy episode of Bitches Get Riches!

This week’s question

Today’s question comes to us from Tumblr follower Shrikeseams, or as Kitty kept saying, “ShrekMemes!” They ask:

Hey Bitches & Community! Any tips on throwing incompetent coworkers under the bus with grace and poise? Some friends in my former workplace (event planning) who do most of the “client facing” work are tired of getting screwed by incompetent coworkers fouling things up behind the scenes and leaving the front end to take the blame. How do you place blame where it’s due when the client can’t see it and your management team is too defensive/lazy to act?

For more on navigating the workplace:

Today’s episode was brought to you by fried chicken sandwiches. Specifically Beth’s Homemade Baked Spicy Chicken Sandwiches over at Budget Bytes, made with love by a life partner who labors over a hot stove while you scream-laugh inside the guest bedroom closet.

But there would be no fried chicken sandwiches without our Patreon community! While we don’t use their donations to buy our dinner ingredients, we do rely on them to pay for the recording equipment, editing software, file sharing, and podcast hosting that makes these episodes possible.

So if you enjoyed this HIGHLY UH INTERESTING episode, join our community! You’ll get to take part in group discussions about potential topics, pitch ideas to us directly, and pat yourself on the back for paying artists and educators for their work.

With 18 million Americans out of work, it's more important than ever to job search like a Dothraki Khalasar riding down a regiment of Lannister foot soldiers.

Our Best Secrets for a Successful, Strategic, and SHORT Job Search

“I love looking for jobs!” Said no one ever in the history of the world.

I’m not exaggerating when I say I enjoy the job hunt about as much as I enjoy a hornet sandwich on rye. Or an acid enema. Or a candlelit dinner with Hannibal Lecter. (You guys are imaginative—pick your unpleasant analogy of choice.)

And I’m just guessing here, but I don’t think I’m alone.

At time of publication, 17.8 million Americans are out of work. That’s… a lot of people unemployed, most of whom are probably looking for jobs. Like, a lot. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it’s all thanks to our friendly neighborhood coronavirus. Which means that a) a lot of us are unemployed because businesses have shut down, b) jobs at those businesses are no longer available, c) there’s incredibly stiff competition for the few jobs that are available, and d) we’re all a teensy bit fucked.

All of which is to say: it’s more important than ever to approach your job search like a Dothraki khalasar riding down a regiment of Lannister foot soldiers.

With terrifying ruthlessness and precision.

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Podcast Episode 009: "I've Given Up On My Dream Career. Where Do I Go From Here?"

Episode 009: “I’ve Given up on My Dream Career. Where Do I Go From Here?”



Today we answer a letter from Patreon Donor Julia, who feels lost after making a big change of direction in her life.

Today’s question

“I’m twenty-one years old and I was in college majoring in biology, but I was just miserable and had to leave. But all I ever wanted to do was science, and now I’m really struggling with what to do next. I was paying for classes as I went (as much as I could, anyway) so I only have one loan to pay off. But I just really don’t know what I want to do with my life. I’ve worked in retail and foodservice and I hated it. I’ve been applying to daycare centers because I like kids, but I haven’t heard back from any of them. Any advice you could give me on finding a direction would be very much appreciated.”

This question made our hearts heavy. We hate to see a twenty-one-year-old sounding so lost and resigned. Because twenty-one is so young! You’re an adult when you’re twenty-one, but like, it’s the toddler stage of adulthood. The world won’t always feel so intimidating and impenetrable.

Our Boomer parents would certainly tell her to fOlLoW hEr DrEaM, dAmN tHe CoNsEqUeNcEs. But obviously we have to bring a more nuanced answer than that.

Allow us to remind all of our young listeners that…

  • Cs are passing grades. They are enough. Let yourself step down off the hamster wheel of your own demanding expectations.
  • College curricula can be more challenging than the “real world” career you’re preparing you for.
  • Piggy and I graduated from college ten years ago, and in the last decade, the number of employers who have expressed a desire to know our letter grades in college is absolute zero—a thermodynamic state once thought to be merely theoretical! SCIENCE!
  • Some careers are challenging to pursue because they’re vanishingly rare and impossibly glamorous: professional video game player, A-list film actor, high-end vibrator tester, etc. But other careers are challenging to pursue because they require a lot of intelligence, persistence, and education: biologist, surgeon, high-end vibrator engineer. Shake the former, push the latter.
  • STEM fields will remain overwhelmingly male so long as women and nonbinary folks lack mentors and programs to help them through the doubt.
  • Sometimes you wanna quit because you know yourself, and you’ve made a mature and informed decision about what’s best for you. Other times you wanna quit because you’re scared of failure, or scared of success, or unsure how to move forward. You will spend a lot of your young adulthood learning to spot the difference between the two.
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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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Episode 002: “How Should I Behave on My First Day at Work?”



Wow, thanks to all the folks who left a nice review on our very first episode! Please continue to ignore our amateur hour aspects. Squint hard and see only the good!

The second episode of our podcast returns to the realm of the workplace, where we give A++, very sound and rational career advice to a listener.

Today’s question

“Hey Bitches! I hope you can help me on time. I recently accepted a job offer after 6+ months of being unemployed!! I start this Monday and I want to know: what are the most important things you should do on your first day at work?

I’m a fresh grad so all this is new. I keep finding lists with like 15 things, and that’s way too much to keep track so I need help! Also one bit of advice I saw often was that I should ‘check in’ throughout the day with my manager/boss: how exactly do I do this?”

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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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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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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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