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!
“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. l 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. 🙏”
All thanks to our Patreon donors, especially Rachel, who asked us this question, which is meaty and full of delicious umami flavors!
Episode Transcript (click to reveal)
Theme Song 0:00
If you need some dough
You don’t know where to go
In this patriarchal capitalist hellscape
Well here’s the sitch
Were gonna help you, sis
Because bitches get riches
Bitches get riches
Bitches get riches
Bitches get riches
And so can you
What are you wearing?
I’m wearing the bra I fell asleep in, that’s right.
I just rolled out of bed and didn’t get dressed.
I’m wearing jeans that are covered in dirt and chickenshit because I was just out with the dogs so that they would shut the fuck up for our podcast recording.
Talk dirty to me.
And then I have like, my husband’s hoodie is on me and I’m sweaty. I don’t know why.
I’m dewy with excitement for all of the wisdom that we will share with the 7 people who—
—the 7 people, 6 of whom are not our moms. So that’ll be great. I just want to let you know that I am wearing, let’s see. I am wearing fleece-lined magenta leggings, because suddenly it’s cold and rainy here, and a big comfy sweatshirt that says respect my hustle and I’m also wearing a dusting of dog fur and flour because everyone I know is either pregnant or has recently given birth. So, I’m making bread for all of these new parents, because like, what else do you do? So my kitchen is full of bread that’s rising. And that makes me very grandmotherly and nurturing.
No, I disagree. It’s not grandmotherly.
I think it’s erotic in a sort of primal, fertility goddess, the rising of the yeast
You’re so right.
You in the fullness of your Womanhood, the moon, etc. I think that’s what baking bread is.
Goddess Hecate within me is manifesting through this bread that I am kneading to within an inch of its life.
Exactly. Well we’re finally on the same page.
Yeah, exactly. So we might as well start then. I’m Piggy.
And we are the Bitches of Bitches Get Riches.
We are two women with opinions on the internet.
And we’re here to share those opinions with you.
Our time on this planet is limited.
So let’s get started.
Okay. Today’s letter comes to us from Patreon donor Rachel.
Oh, thank you, Rachel. You are an exploding supernova of glitter and confetti.
Oh, I like that a lot.
Okay, so Rachel writes: I’m an engineer and I’ve been working for 5 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 engineering once I’ve been gone for too long? The job I have now along with my wife’s gives us ample salary that allows us to save and pay down debt like crazy. I can’t say that the security of those salaries isn’t alluring. Although, 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 that I love, but I also don’t want to be unhappy at work. Please send help.
And then some prayerful emoji hands.
Oh, those prayerful emoji hands. I feel Rachel because something and I think I mentioned this on the blog before something I really wish adult humans had told me when I was a non-adult human, was that following your passion is for after you’ve made money? And before you’ve made money, is for making money? And like having money is the point at which you can follow those passions because you don’t have to worry about putting literal food on the literal table.
Yeah. Yeah, there’s a lot of kind of interesting pieces here and I think it sounds like overall Rachel’s in a pretty stable place. She has a spouse who works as well. She’s probably making pretty good money as an engineer, would be my guess. But I think this is a really relatable problem. The idea of feeling like you started down this path and when you find you don’t like it, you feel kind of stuck there because the cost of quitting is really intimidating. I always really, really, really admire people who are impulsive or at least more impulsive than I am because I’m not at all, I’m very calculating, and it can lead me to really trapping myself in situations that I don’t like because I told myself, well this is the plan, sweetheart, so buckle up! But also any time that I’ve kind of like completely had enough and just walked away from something that I really truly did not like, the feeling of relief and release is amazing. It’s a fantastic feeling quitting something that you don’t want to go.
Oh. Girl. You don’t have to tell me. Like this is part of my superhero origin story, grinding away at a job that I progressively liked less and less for 8 years only to have this wonderful moment where I quit and it was this wholesome, glorious, moving on to my next stage of being, like insert movie montage of the heroine glowing up here. No, quitting can feel incredibly powerful and moving on to what you truly want to do can feel incredibly powerful and wonderful. I just think that like if she’s having these reservations, I just worry that she might not be ready, emotionally rather than financially. It sounds like she’s got plenty of money in the bank. Shes got a spouse who has got a good career and they’re raking in dough. If they’re on track to retire early, then she’s kind of in the perfect position to start over in a new career. Being a project manager is her passion and it can be done as an engineer. But I would take that a step further and say, what if she is a product manager for engineers?
Yeah, we talk very rarely about hybrid careers. For example, I got my start in publishing, in academic publishing, where I knew a lot of editors who were PhD’s in archaeology who, you know, they were not archaeologists, but they were editors of archaeology and they managed to mix their passion of editing and archaeology into a gorgeous job that worked for them. So I mean, that’s definitely an option for Rachel.
Yeah, I think as I get older and boy, am I good at that…
You are so old.
I am withered, inside and out.
Have you entered your dotage yet? I think you’re entering your dotage.
I think my dotage is nigh. As I get older, I really find that I listen with a bit more credibility to unsolicited advice from people who are yet again, older than I am. And I will say I’ve never heard someone talk about regretting quitting something that they didn’t like. I think I pretty much only heard people talk about how giving less space in their life to something that they don’t like improves their life overall. And with regards to the concern about like, what if when I leave this industry I can’t get back into it because I’ve been out of it for too long, I think that that’s a valid concern but it shouldn’t be the one that holds you back. Because honestly that mentality is almost like, you know, I’m dating someone and I get the feeling that this person isn’t the right person for me. But if I then become single, what do?
Maybe I will never get one again. And I think that’s just the wrong way to think about it.
In this scenario, her engineering job is her current lame girlfriend and a new career is like the potential, but not the actuality, of a new significant other. Which you’re right! It can definitely be scary, but that’s no reason to stay in the same shitty relationship.
Also, I do want to point out, you can always go back to a shitty relationship.
You can always go back. Yeah, if you don’t burn bridges and you leave your job, I know so many people who have left the company, gone to work somewhere else for a couple of years, and then come back to working at that large company. That happens all the time. I think there’s a little bit of a feeling that people can have, especially when they’re fresh in their career, maybe towards the younger side, that there’s a continuity that you’re expected to maintain to your life. Like it would be bad to say, I went to school to study engineering. I did engineering for a few years and then I became a project manager. Like that there’s some kind of failure in your ability to tell your own story.
Yeah, like it it has to be a linear progression or you’re fucking it up.
I think you’re exactly right. Like it doesn’t have to go like that. Life is weird. It does not need to make as much sense as fiction, that’s a little editor wisdom for you there.
I know, right? But you’re absolutely right. She doesn’t have to account for herself to anyone. There’s no god of the underworld who’s going to hold her career on a scale when she gets to the end of it saying like oh well, I noticed you starting engineering but then you went to project management, that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense! She doesn’t need to account for herself to anyone, maybe her spouse, but it sounds like her spouse is on the same page as like, of her being happy and not miserable in her career at any given time.
Yeah, and I think that idea that maybe a successful person is someone who follows through all the way—I think there’s a really old meme that went around I want to say Twitter a couple of years back.
Okay so it’s in like contemporary time for me because I’m perpetually behind on pop culture, but go on.
It was people posting their first, I think it was 7 jobs.
It was really fascinating, the number of people who seemed to have great continuity and great success to their careers, it was a lot of lifeguard first and then second, car salesman, and you’re like what? And then third, you know working at Best Buy and then fourth it’s working in IT, and then you get up to step seven and it’s like, he was Bill Gates all along! And there were so many surprises and really odd things that kind of like, what were you doing there? Like that is not what your skill set was, but it was clearly like this is someone who’s trying to figure it out and I think that there’s a saying in sort of technology spaces that we say at work a lot, and it kind of makes me roll my eyes, but I’m going to repeat it. To fail fast is a good thing to do. If you try something out and you know that it’s not for you, it’s better to actually just get out quickly and not belabor the point, not drag out the process, because the time that you’re spending, Rachel, being an engineer. She’s wasting that potential growth time as a project manager, which is what she actually likes.
I do think it’s worth saying that like, all of that assumes a certain level of financial stability, of support from other people or
Oh totally. And this is something I want to talk about more on Bitches Get Riches in general, which is that like follow your dreams and do what you love and have a job you’re passionate about, and you’ll never work a day in your lifelike that bullshit is for the financially solvent. Like, if you are up to your fucking eyeballs in student loans, and you are eating Ramen and beans and rice, not out of choice, but out of necessity, like don’t follow your fucking passion. Don’t make a major career shift that’s going to potentially lose you income. Only make career shifts that are going to gain you income. Like this is a problem that is wonderful to have and I really applaud Rachel for getting to the point in her life where she can make a decision like this and she has the financial wherewithal to not be so desperate that she can’t make this decision.
I agree. 100%. I think stability is necessary before you start to branch out and prioritize things like fulfillment, especially if that job is more of a I don’t love it as opposed to a this is actively toxic and destroying my physical health. Those are super different situations. Are you good with that?
I’m good with that. Alright listeners, if there’s a question you’d like for us to answer, go to bitchesgetriches.com and click quote unquote Ask the Bitches.
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Hey, is there anything else that they should know?
The series finale of Battlestar Galactica? Wildly underrated.
Huh. That’s good to know.
Kitty & Piggy 14:54
Bitches out! [laughter]