Gig Income Report (Earned through 09/17/21): $0.00

For the week ending 09/17/21, I worked zero (0) shifts for a total of 0.00 hours, and earned $0.00, resulting in an extra student loan payment of $0.00.

This has become a pretty common pattern for me: a good week followed by a goose egg. This past week(end) had little to do with my willingness to work and everything to do with the fact that I had to cover a last minute, 24-hour, week-long, on-call shift for a colleague and unable to accept gig shifts.

You can read more about how I am landing gigs in Gig Tales: The Apps or how I determine how much money goes towards my student loans in Gig Tales: The Math.

Gig Income Report (Earned through 09/10/21): $240.80

For the week ending 09/10/21, I worked two (2) shifts for a total of 15.00 hours, and earned $240.80, resulting in an extra student loan payment of $198.56.

Not much to say as it was a rather average weekend. Unfortunately, next week’s update with likely be $0.00 as I am on-call this weekend for my main employer and unable accept gigs as a result.

You can read more about how I am landing gigs in Gig Tales: The Apps or how I determine how much money goes towards my student loans in Gig Tales: The Math.

Gig Income Report (Earned through 09/02/21): $0.00

For the week ending 09/02/21, I worked zero (0) shifts for a total of 0.00 hours, and earned $0.00, resulting in an extra student loan payment of $0.00.

This should come as a surprise to no one as I waxed poetic about whether or not I was being a lazy heffa by not working over the weekend. With Squaddie and Pennyfolk support, I’ve decided I wasn’t and that the break was much needed. I am working Saturday and Sunday of the this weekend so my report next week should look better.

You can read more about how I am landing gigs in Gig Tales: The Apps or how I determine how much money goes towards my student loans in Gig Tales: The Math.

September 2021 – Student Loan Balance(s) Update

Whew, August was…a lot. I am only too happy to see the start of September. I feel like it is going to be a good month. Okay, enough of that. To the numbers…

AccountDebtDebt (7/1/19)Min. PaymentInterest Rate
Private Student Loan 1$0.00-$10,231.32$110.460.000%
Private Student Loan 3$0.00-$12,580.49$153.820.000%
Private Student Loan 4-$8,611.30-$13,280.33$45.403.625%
Private Student Loan 2-$6,726.38-$8,271.15$93.305.090%
Federal Student Loan 1-$21,440.37-$20,583.34$0.006.800%
Federal Student Loan 2-$13,946.84-$13,457.55$0.005.310%
Federal Student Loan 3-$11,184.47-$10,737.40$0.006.800%
Federal Student Loan 4-$7,748.09-$7,518.58$0.004.450%
Federal Student Loan 5-$5,561.12-$5,520.10$0.004.450%
Federal Student Loan 6-$3,147.30-$2,849.21$0.005.600%
Federal Student Loan 7-$2,863.10-$2,649.80$0.004.660%
Federal Student Loan 8-$2,457.12-$2,538.91$0.006.800%
Federal Student Loan 9-$2,307.18-$2,047.30$0.006.800%
Federal Student Loan 10-$2,003.02-$1,813.31$0.005.600%
Federal Student Loan 11-$1,639.01-$1,573.49$0.006.800%
Federal Student Loan 12-$1,144.25-$1,035.88$0.005.600%
University Student Loan 1-$3,577.70-$4,581.00$60.418.000%
University Student Loan 2-$3,090.59-$3,629.38$0.000.000%
University Student Loan 3-$380.41-$1,031.21$30.008.000%
University Student Loan 4-$185.75-$857.81$30.008.000%
Personal Student Loan $0.00-$1,875.70$312.620.000%

August 2021 – Student Loan Balance(s): -$99,935.49

September 2021 – Student Loan Balance(s): $98,014.00

Total Payments: $2007.47

Net Difference: $1,921.49

I mean…not bad. Despite disappointments in my personal and professional life, in terms of debt repayment, August was a pretty good month. It should be noted that the debt repayment amounts above do not reflect my very, very modest bonus, which will instead be applied to my September debt payments and reflected in my October 2021 update. This is the first balance update to reflect Private Student Loan 3 being paid off so that is exciting.

Gig Income Update

Net Gig Income Goal for August: $700.00
Net Gig Income Actual for August: $563.75
Difference: $136.25
Net Gig Income Goal for September: $600.00

If you will remember, my gig income goal for August was $1,000.00. However, this was a gross income goal which didn’t really make sense for reporting purposes as all of my other income is net income. For that reason, I have updated my August goal to reflect a net income goal. (Your can learn more about how I decided how much to set aside here.) After losing a weekend to a terrible summer cold and deciding not to work this past weekend, I fell short of my goal. The amount of gig work I actually performed felt about right, and I’ve decided to shoot for just a bit more than I earned in August for September.

Again, not a bad month. Thank you so much to all of you who read, and especially those who comment, for your support in August. It was so very much appreciated.

Gig Tales: Am I being a lazy heffa?

You may recall in my most recent Gig Income Report that I had no desire to work this weekend…and I didn’t. In fact, as we close in on noon in the Eastern Standard Timezone, I am still in bed. However, initially, this bout of laziness and rest came with a great deal of guilt. I don’t know if other folks in significant debt experience this or if this is an adverse effect of gig apps…

I celebrated a month of using gig apps a couple of days ago and I know this because Qwick sent me a celebratory email. For the most part, I have loved gig apps. They are as advertised and as long and you show up to your shift on time and work hard, all is well. However, one of the things that I didn’t mention in my initial review, Gig Tales: The Apps, is that in addition to seeing gig opportunities as they are posted, the apps will often send you notifications and text messages to let you know that gigs are available, especially if they get a “last minute shift” or have someone call out. Qwick calls them “hero” shifts and in addition to bonus points to your “Qwick Score” for accepting these shifts and no penalty for arriving late, they also offer a bonus percentage on top of the original hourly rate. The rates for these last minutes shifts can creep up quite a bit and I have been offered as much as $22.50/hour to polish silverware. I kid not. And obviously I accepted that gig.

At this point, you might be asking, “So AP, what is the problem? Good pay and you only work when you want to work. Where is the bad?” The bad is that it means that work is always available and that you are always being given the opportunity to work. Yesterday, between Qwick and Tend* I received more than ten text messages and numerous app notifications alerting me to available shifts. I think when you are paying off debt, especially a significant amount of debt, it feels like you don’t have the right to turn down work. I think being “unaware” of work or “unable” to work is a bit easier outside of the apps because it can take a great deal of luck, timing, and energy to arrange casual work. However, with the apps that is not the case. There is always work available, especially on the weekends, and if you aren’t working it’s because you are making a choice not to work.

Ultimately, I asked a male person I have been seeing (not Dude Avery…I know! Maybe more on that later…) if I was being a lazy heffa by not working this weekend and his response was fast and succinct: “No, you need a day off or you will burn out.” While I have known this person since I was 27, like most people, he has no idea how much student loan debt I have. However, for whatever reason, Squaddie (we’re referring to this male person as “Squaddie”) telling me that it was okay to take time off was what I needed to stop looking at my phone and feeling guilty every time I got a ping or a text and finally settle in to enjoying my weekend off. And I have.

*I turned the notifications for Instawork off two weeks ago because they are automated, repetitive, and happen at a very high frequency.
** I recognize that C has been warning of this moment for some time and like most things, she was eventually proven to be correct. Time off is important and I will prioritize it more in upcoming weeks as the start of the academic semester results in my primary job at University B becoming more demanding.

Gig Income Report (Earned through 08/27/21): $373.64

For the week ending 08/27/21, I worked three (3) shifts for a total of 16.22 hours, and earned $373.64, resulting in an extra student loan payment of $263.55.

This was my most lucrative gig week to date but I have been tired most of the week. The academic year at University B started this week and I have already had to work evenings. I’m just $237.50 shy of hitting my gross additional income target of $1000.00 for August but nothing in me wants to work this weekend. We will see…

You can read more about how I am landing gigs in Gig Tales: The Apps or how I determine how much money goes towards my student loans in Gig Tales: The Math.

Should I be insulted?

Where to begin…

I got into the office a bit late today because I stayed fairly late yesterday evening to support new student orientation activities. After getting through my inbox, I noticed an email roughly entitled “FYI.” This correspondence was from my boss and the Outlook preview gave me reason to assume it was about compensation…so I procrastinated reading it. Finally, around noon I could take it no longer and opened it. The email itself was gracious but brief and directed me to open the attached letter. The letter, also from my boss but copying his boss and human resources, very briefly stated that as a result of my hard work on several projects, my boss, his boss, and the division had decided to award me a bonus of $1,500.00. Additionally, my salary would also increase by 2.5%. After rereading the letter several times, the overwhelming feeling that accosted me was…disappointment.

Hours later, I realize the disappointment arises from three distinct places… Firstly, is the actual amounts themselves. As a result of having a friend in the same division, whose boss is a lot more upfront in discussions about compensation, I know the spot bonus range and know that my bonus is the lower end. Secondly, where the letter states the reasons I am receiving the bonus, it does not mention a significant amount of non-role specific departmental labor I have performed over the past year and a half. Work that was the responsibility of another staff member who did not complete it before leaving our department. Work that was essential to our department’s performance. From my perspective, not only am I not being compensated for this labor that no one else wanted to perform (we are talking about weeks of work for an assignment that had university presidential level visibility) but I also feel like my boss probably isn’t giving me credit for the work outside of our office. That is, I think he is still allowing people (i.e. his boss) to assume that my departing colleague completed the work. Because, if they didn’t complete that work, what did they do? As I shared previously, my boss is incredibly inspiring and a visionary but he is also a bad manager of people.

And thirdly, and I feel this is most significant, I am disappointed that my boss tried to present the pitiful 2.5% increase as a salary adjustment. The same departmental friend also let me know that everyone in the division (including my lovely new colleague who earns $7K more than I do) is being awarded the 2.5% increase. The increase wasn’t tied to my individual work but was awarded by the division head to everyone for the rough year. Framing it as an increase that was tied to my work seemed…dishonest and a bit disrespectful. I would much rather have had my boss just tell me that he couldn’t get me a salary adjustment. But he hates confrontation, and delivering bad news, so I am not entirely shocked he decided to frame the increase in this manner.

Ultimately, I am in a place where there are a lots of questions, including the title of this post, running through my mind even if not very much has actually changed.

I Quit?

Shockingly, this is not click bait. And this time, I’m not talking about a part time role…

I am underpaid. While I have believed this to be the case for some time now, being underpaid during a global pandemic is an awkward position to occupy. Unlike folks who lost their income or their lives, I have remained employed and healthy. For that reason, despite my belief knowledge that I am underpaid, I was prepared to gratefully accept my meager wages (yes, I understand that my salary isn’t terrible but this is also a role for which a master’s degree is required). That was until I learned that my new colleague (who I already really like) gets paid almost $7,000.00 more than I do….

Before you say, “But AP…” I would kindly ask you to hush-it. I sat on the search committee for that role and know that my new colleague and I have similar educational backgrounds and professional experience. However, it wasn’t until my new colleague and I were having a candid chat about how little we both get paid that they let their figure “slip.” I was shocked. While I had an idea that they made more than I do, I don’t know what it was about hearing them say it out-loud that made me so angry…and hurt. I had directly communicated to my boss during several one-on-one conversations over the past year that I believed my role warranted a salary adjustment. The department had increased the role title from a coordinator to an assistant director without a commensurate change in salary band. My boss, who loathes confrontation, continually said complimentary things about my work and endeavored to make me feel “heard” while demurring on the actual issue of salary.

So on Tuesday, after that candid chat with my colleague, I sat down to calculate the true cost of quitting my job. I calculated how much I would have to earn an hour to replace my current salary and included benefits like health insurance, employer 401K and HSA contributions, and death/disability insurance. After I came up with the hourly or daily rate I would need to stay afloat, I decided it seemed “doable” and concluded that it wouldn’t be so very difficult to find another role at my current salary. Then, I sent my boss (who I like a great deal) an email with the subject line: Planned Resignation. In the email, I explained that I was planning to resign but that I wanted to speak with him about how I could depart without causing serious damage to the programs I manage. Unsurprisingly, he schedule a one-on-one with me for an hour later.

I went into that meeting a bit sad but comfortable with the decision I had made. My boss also seemed sad and asked if it was about my salary. I was honest and told him it was but also offered that a new role would give me an opportunity to continue my professional development. It was at this time that he disclosed that he had recently gone to his boss to inquire about both a bonus and a salary adjustment for me. And that while he could not disclose the amount, that his boss had approved both. I was…shocked. And sad. We spent the next ten minutes talking about how much respect we have for one another and we ended with him encouraging me to think about it over a couple of days.

It didn’t take me a couple of days. With some of my anger now diffused, I did a bit more investigating and learned that the unvested portion of my 401K was in excess of $12,000.00. Which meant that if I left prior to the vestment in the Spring of 2022, University B would take back its $12,000.00 in contributions. Ummmm…no. I also spent a bit of time thinking about the other people with whom I work that would be negatively impacted by my abrupt departure, the community I support, and the students I advise. With that $12,000.00 being a significant factor, I concluded that two weeks notice did not seem like enough time.

On Wednesday, my boss and I met again. I thanked him for the grace he had extended me and asked him if he would be amenable to me staying on until the end of the academic year. It would give me enough time to transition to my next place in life, for my 401K to become fully vested, for me to wrap up loose programming ends, and enable them to conduct a candidate search during the height of hiring season (I have a somewhat specialized role). He said that he was glad to have a bit more time with me and encouraged me to keep him apprised of my plans as the year progresses. And that was that…for now.

There is obviously a lot more to this story, a lot more to the relationship I have with my boss, and a lot more going on with where I am at this moment… The only thing of which I am very certain is that I just gave myself a deadline. A deadline by which I have to have a new plan. And instead of feeling scared or anxious, I feel relieved. I have become comfortable and complacent in my current role, and scared to rock the boat less I disrupt my predictable monthly student loan debt payments. However, that isn’t me. That has never been me. I have deadline. I have a goal. And I am prepared to do whatever it takes to meet it.

Gig Income Report (Earned through 08/13/21): $0.00

For the week ending 08/13/21, I worked zero (0) shifts for a total of 0.00 hours, and earned $0.00, resulting in an extra student loan payment of $0.00.

Ugh, that was tough to write. But I caught a cold last weekend and wasn’t in a position to do much more than nap and try not to be too gross (apparently colds are easier to catch than COVID-19 even if you are masked up and social distancing because there are more of them and they are “hardier.” I know…creepy). Given that my gig work is primarily in the food service industry, it was in my best interest and those with whom I might come in contact that I sit on the bench. However, I am feeling much, much better now and will likely pick up some gig work this weekend.

You can read more about how I am landing gigs in Gig Tales: The Apps or how I determine how much money goes towards my student loans in Gig Tales: The Math.