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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.

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.

You've sent your application and all you've heard back is crickets. So now what?

I Just Applied for a Job. How (And When) Should I Follow Up?

In all our copious posts about getting a job and advancing your career, we’ve left out one crucial part of the job application process.

What the hell happens after you’ve submitted your application?

Ideally, you’ll receive a prompt response confirming the receipt of your application. Following that, you’ll be cordially invited to an interview in a timely fashion. And after the interview, within very little time, you’ll receive a job offer. Just a really prompt, dignified process that respects and values everyone’s time and effort!

GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE CLOUDS, YOU NAIF. LIFE IS PAIN, MOTHERFUCKERS.

Of course that adorable fantasy scenario only happens on Wish Fulfillment Island, where the hiring process is swift and painless and dogs never die!

In reality, job applicants are plagued with long, drawn-out hiring processes, unclear communication, repetitive applications, and flaming hoops of bullshit in front of an obstacle course of crocodiles who only scanned your resume for keywords.

In other words, it blows! But you still need to get through it if you have any hope of employment. So here’s what happens after you submit a job application.

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Ask the Bitches: "How do I push back when my workplace isn't taking COVID-19 seriously?"

Ask the Bitches Pandemic Lightning Round: “How Do I Push Back When My Workplace Isn’t Taking COVID-19 Seriously?”

Welcome to the Ask the Bitches Pandemic Lightning Round! We’re working around the clock to answer your questions about coronavirus, the impact of quarantine, and the recession of 2020.

Phew. Are y’all getting tired by all these articles yet? We’re not! We’re as tireless as a team of Amish-raised mules, and JUST AS ADORABLE!*

Today, we’re considering the health ramifications of a boss who just don’t give a damn about this global pandemic. Fun stuff!

We’ll be coming at you fast this week, answering as many urgent questions as we can. If you appreciate the extra effort, we would love a small donation on our Patreon. Thank you!

*The first part is a lie; the second one is not.

The question

I’ve been working as an hourly temp at a business since August. My supervisor wanted to hire me. She was beginning this process when COVID-19 hit. Now all hands are on deck.

All company employees who can work from home are. But my supervisor can’t get me a company laptop to work from home, and encouraged me to come to work. I have asthma, so I’m very aware of how careful I must be. I’m wary of how well they clean the office and how seriously some employees are taking this crisis.

Should I continue going to work? I want to keep saving, but I also want to keep myself safe. I’ll take any tips you have.

There are still some workplaces that aren’t taking this pandemic seriously. Hopefully their numbers are shrinking as quickly as COVID-19 cases are rising.

If you’re unlucky enough to be stuck working at one, let’s talk about how to handle it. It shouldn’t be your job to handle it! But in Corporate America, managing other people’s idiocies is always half the job!

From a pure physical health perspective, you shouldn’t take the risk of going in to work. But financial instability wouldn’t benefit your stress, immune system, or mental health. So we have to try to balance those interests. That’s the repulsive calculus of our reprehensible system, where losing your job also means losing your health insurance at the worst possible time.

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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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Look how culturally fluent I am!

Ask the Bitches: What the Hell Else Can I Do to Get a Job?

We get a lot of different questions from the loyal citizens of Bitch Nation. But certain ones keep popping up over and over again like some sick game of economic whack-a-mole. It’s clear our darling followers are desperate for advice on getting a job, for example.

Take this question darling follower @evharley asked on our Tumblr:

Hey bitches, I am a recent graduate and have had internships my last year of college BUT I am still not getting any interviews. I use the right sites, follow yours and Ask A Manager‘s cover letter and resume tips but cannot land an interview. I look for jobs 4 hours 3 days a week and it doesn’t feel like enough but I feel so defeated. Is there something more that I could be doing?

What a miserable, frustrating situation.

Searching for a job can easily feel hopeless, especially when you’re not getting any return on your considerable efforts. She’s working hard to get that elusive job and getting nowhere! She’s trying everything she can think of to get hired to no avail! SHE HAS DONE HER TIME.

So what else is there to do?

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I'm nervous to publish this. But you know what? It's okay to talk about your failures.

Confession: I Hate My Job and I Don’t Know How to Leave It

I don’t fancy myself a hypocrite. And yet I haven’t been practicing what I preach.

We talk a lot about career advancement as a path to financial independence here. You’ve got to angle for promotions and ask for raises and, most importantly, switch jobs on the regular.

And yet I’ve been stuck at the same company for almost eight years.

And I don’t want to be.

In that time, I’ve been promoted three times and I’ve received multiple raises. But it’s a small publishing house on a metaphorically small, remote island within the broader publishing industry.

And unless my boss gets torn apart by angry maenads sometime soon, I’ve literally reached the top of the ladder here. There’s nowhere else to go within my company, and very few options for other publishing jobs in the area.

I feel trapped. I feel like a failure. I’m bored, directionless, and frustrated. I want to enjoy going to work again. I want to feel challenged and get paid more.

So because I’m feeling rather… truthsome right now, I want to dissect my current career stagnation. I want to confess my failures and seek absolution. People of the Internet, be gentle with me.

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Friends, if you're going to jump, jump like there's no ceiling.

The Fascinating Results of Our Job Hopping vs. Career Loyalty Poll

Guys, Bitches can’t thank you enough for stepping up and volunteering your salary histories for our recent article on job hopping. If you haven’t read it yet, go check it out and feel free to skip straight down to those juicy, delicious, nutritious comments.

We discovered some really interesting trends, and we’re going to break them down for you now!

Overall, commenters were big fans of a hybrid approach. Job hopping was universally endorsed as an essential move, regardless of career path, even by serial job monogamists. But occasionally stopping to rest once you’ve landed in a good position was also extremely popular.

Here are some of the factors that made people stay… and go.

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