You guys don’t know how much I’ve been trying to avoid writing this post. I thought if I didn’t say anything the problem would resolve itself, but this morning I realized it isn’t going away. For weeks I’ve been trying to quell the mini nervous breakdown building up in my brain, but there’s no avoiding it.
It is time to admit my stupidity in hopes of moving on – changing jobs was a total mistake.
For a long time, I worked a demanding, high stress job as director of a group home. In April I added a part-time job to help pay off debt faster. By this summer, I was so burned out I felt like I couldn’t survive another day.
The opportunity arose to make my part time job a full time position. I would have complete freedom over my schedule. Working 4 days a week. No on call 24/7. I gave up a salary, but would earn more than three times my previous hourly rate for every hour I billed for therapy. It seemed absolutely perfect.
The month of August was great – I wasn’t stressed, I had more time for blogging, and I actually got to spend time with my son for a change. I even posted about liking my job for the first time in ages.
The Devil’s in the Details
Except there were some things no one told me. Like the fact that the pay is calculated in a very complicated way that doesn’t quite add up to the billable hour amount I was given. Or that if my billing wasn’t put into the system within a certain timeframe, I wouldn’t get paid until months down the road. (I don’t have any control over that; I don’t get to do my own billing.) OR the fact that I would be scheduled to see so many people without insurance.
When the other therapists were trying to convince me to come to this job full time, they mentioned that the first few pay periods were pretty rough. I was prepared for that. Now that I’m there and I’m freaking out, they’re telling me it’s more like the first YEAR before all the billing catches up and I start getting real paychecks. Thanks, assholes.
In my old job, I brought home $1075 every two weeks. I was paying my bills, making it through the pay period with no problems, and adding money to savings every chance I got. The extra money I earned from my part-time job helped me grow my emergency fund to over $2000 in about 9 months.
Since the switch? My paychecks have been anywhere from $330-$650, even though the number of hours I billed should have given me way more than I was making before. I met with the director of finance to find out the problem – basically, the system is so complicated that even HE couldn’t tell me why I’m not making any money. He kind of patted me on the shoulder and said it will get better.
My emergency fund is down to about $450. Every payday, I’ve had to transfer money out to make up for the lower pay. Right now there is enough in checking to cover my bills, but nothing for gas and groceries. And I’m faced with a debate. Do I siphon the last of my emergency fund, knowing I’ll come up short again next payday, or do I use a credit card and hope things get better at some point? Neither option should even be an option.
I have spent the past few weeks searching desperately for a job. I even talked to my old boss about going back to the job from hell, though there aren’t any openings at the moment. I can’t even find anything to apply for that wouldn’t make the situation worse.
It’s kind of ironic that I worked so hard to build a safety net and make good choices, yet I’m sitting here with no safety net left. My income is all I have to depend on – I don’t have a spouse to pick up the slack. And I truly don’t know what to do right now. I have two college degrees, six years of experience in my field, and I am pretty much broke.
It makes me sick. I didn’t get here because of overspending or racking up debt. I got here by taking what I knew was a huge risk, one that I (mistakenly) thought would pay off in a big way. And I have no one to blame but myself.
I feel like I’m whining, and that’s not very exciting to read, so I’ll just stop. I’ve made this mess and now I have to figure out a way to clean it up.