October 2022 – Life Update

I know ya’ll…I know. I would like to begin by thanking folks who left comments or sent messages (Blissful, Avery, Ellen) to check-in. If I have not already, I WILL be responding. However, as I know talk is cheap, I wanted to actually get a post up before I responded to your messages saying “I’ll post soon,” and then you know…not post soon.

– My last post here about work was the rather abrupt announcement of my resignation from Organization C. While I had my usual September 2022 – Student Loan Balances Update post, I never got around to posting about my wrap-up at Organization C… July 31st was technically my last day at Organization C and University B. However, as I had already been hired by another unit within University B, in a part-time, 9-month, temporary capacity, my departure from there felt less permanent. On my last day at Organization C, I felt nothing but relief. I really, really disliked my boss. He was mean, entitled, and didn’t treat me or my colleagues with respect. Despite knowing this, I was still hesitant to tell anyone about my departure from Organization C because I didn’t feel as though they would ever really appreciate why I decided to depart…and this turned out to be mostly true. While my friends were “supportive,” it was clear from facial expressions and language choices that most of them didn’t think it could be “that bad” as it was a remote role; and despite knowing all the gory and ongoing details, my best friend even said at one point, “Maybe you can get your job back at Organizations C, they clearly need you…”

I think this lack of understanding of why I left led to me seeking validation for my choice through subsequent events at Organization C. I was confident with my choice to leave, never regretted it, and external validation should not have been unnecessary but…I’m human. The first bit of validation came when the reviews for my replacement (she actually replaced me and another departing colleague…hey girl 👋🏿, if you’re reading this) were not great. A couple of colleagues that remained at Organization C and an external partner reached out to me after only a few weeks to express their frustration with her lack of interest in the work with a direct quote being, “I’m not impressed with your replacement…” While I would never wish for my replacement not to flourish, this replacement happened to be a good friend of my former boss and the nepotism was clear. The second bit came earlier this week when colleagues at Organization C reached out to say that during the biweekly staff meeting, my boss sprung a significant budgetary shortfall on them and said that if they did not come up with ideas to mitigate the shortfall that their salaries would be impacted. He then proceeded to grill them about potential ideas, dismissing all of them. As I have said numerous times, I LOVED my colleagues at Organization C. They were all bright, smart, hardworking, and direct communicators. I miss them. But my boss is a terrible leader and the current challenges before the organization were clear to me after being there for only a few months. I repeatedly explained to my former boss that funders were looking to support local organizations doing work “closer to the ground” and that our model of community engagement was outdated. However, when sharing this perspective, and direct feedback from a principal grantor, not only did he interrupt me, he dismissed my assessment. My former colleagues all shared that during one-on-one conversations, he shared that his model wasn’t the problem and that Organization C would still be getting funding if he were “a woman of color.” Right.

My first official day working for the new unit at University B was on August 31st. However, due to hiring and programming delays, the first day of training did not happen until September 28th…which meant I didn’t make any income from University B in September. This was tough. Even with the first week or so of September dedicated to the MCAT, I really expected to make more money than I did. While the delayed start at University B was part of it, I could have started back on the gig apps sooner. I think taking gigs and seeing the same people I saw a year ago and them wondering why I was coming back was a bit tougher on my ego than I wanted to adimt. However, by the last week of September, I got over myself and started back up with Qwick. I also completed the onboarding for UpShift (more on that later).

$$$ Out – September was mostly a money-out month. In addition to my general monthly expenses, I took a long weekend north to visit my best friend and meet her new partner. I also had to pay $600.00 for the primary round of applications to medical school (more on that later). And finally, after 8 months of making +$6,000.00 between income from University B, Organization C, and miscellaneous work, it was really, really hard to readjust to my much, much, much lower income. However, it is a long overdue adjustment and I plan to do a hard reset for October.

$$$ In – September was a low-income month. I didn’t expect to reach my maintenance income goal of $2,000.00 because I spent the first 9 days studying or taking the MCAT, and then went out of town to visit my best friend, however, I expected that I would earn…more. Between Qwick gigs and miscellaneous work for a colleague, I earned about $410.00 in September. This means that most of October’s bills were paid for with savings. While my emergency fund of $5,000.00 remains untouched, my general savings is much lower than I would like. My goal in October is to earn $2,500.00 which would cover November expenses and add a bit back to savings (more on that later).

Dating – I didn’t really have time to date in September. A couple of guys asked me out and I was tempted but…I’m still making comparisons to Gentleman Avery, which isn’t fair to them or me. I sent him a message letting him know that I needed a bit of space. He generally doesn’t react well to me pulling away so I blocked him after I sent the message so that I wouldn’t have to manage his response. This wasn’t my most mature moment, however, I would be an idiot not to learn from past experience. I am a lot of things but I am not an idiot. I needed the space, so I took it.

More, later.

May 2022 – Life Update

I have wanted to write for a couple of days now but nothing felt significant enough to warrant its own post so…general life update it is.

A Tale of Two Workplaces
– My new boss continues to grind my gears. During our weekly 1:1, he passive-aggressively complained that another staff member and I take notes during the virtual staff meeting. What? He said it means that the staff member and I are, “Looking down at your screens and typing instead of looking at me.” Okay, really? I have never been to a staff meeting where taking notes was discouraged but…okay. I could try taking notes by hand instead of typing so that I can look at you while you are speaking. So, the next staff meeting happens and I am taking notes by hand while this man sends emails, while other people are speaking, which I know because he sent an insignificant response of “thanks” to an email thread on which I was included. Beyond this casual passive-aggressiveness and hypocrisy, he is also exceptionally entitled and treats many of our funders like “atm machines.” That is a direct quote from a conversation with our largest funder.

I am passively job hunting.

University B is currently convening a search for my replacement and I have been told that the applicant pool is strong, but there are significant differences between who my former boss and my former colleague, to whom this new hire would report, want to hire. They are both right in their own way. I have been somewhat saddened by my impending departure from the role but many of the challenges that I highlighted are still there. My former boss said he is committed to seeing changes but I have little faith changes will manifest. My boss is still recovering from a medical event and is now expecting his first child. I think the long-term, strategic thinking that would be necessary for changes to happen is not something he is fond of doing and is even less likely to happen given all that is happening in his personal life. I wish him and the organization the best.

$$$ Out – This has been a weird month with money where sometimes I am unsure of exactly what is happening. First, I paid a fine for the lapse in the registration of my vehicle. This was entirely my fault. I most recently lived in a state where car registration was for two years and after I purchased my lease in December 2020, I assumed my registration would need to be renewed in December 2022. Wrong. It needed to be renewed in December 2021, and in March I got a ticket for my registration being out of date. At the registration office, they said they had sent me a reminder to my home, however, they send it to the address listed on the current registration, which was completed by the car dealer, and listed the apartment that flooded. Ugh. So now a $25.00 registration cost me $25.00 and a $160.00 citation AND a $13.00 credit card processing fee. Ugh.

However, what was far, far more annoying was the tango I had with my car insurance company. So when I was pulled over for the lapsed tag, the officer also stated that I didn’t have insurance. Ummm…I most certainly do. He then said I needed to contact my insurer because they had failed to register it with the secretary of state. So I called them and had to keep calling them while trying to get my car registered the next day because the state would not allow me to register my car until the insurance binder was sent to them. Finally, this was taken care of and I assumed all was well…but no. You’ll remember that I recently refinanced my auto loan. Well, as a part of the refinance, PenFed asked to be listed as a lienholder on the policy. Totally reasonable. Unfortunately, this is not a change you can make online and I had to call my agent to get them to make the change. And, I needed to do this rather quickly or PenFed would insure the vehicle themselves and make me pay for it. It took more than a week for my agent to finally get back to me with a quote. I responded immediately and said, “Great, please send me the updated binder.” Nothing. I had to call and call before the administrative assistant sent it to me. Fine. Once again, I thought all was well…again, no.

On April 28th, I receive a bill for a very small amount instead of my usual policy amount. I sent an email to inquire why I was billed for this amount. The administrative assistant then emailed me back to say that on April 6th, someone had placed a note on my record stating that the vehicle had been “junked” and that the policy needed to be suspended. What? I spoke to you on April 18th when you provided me with my insurance binder. How could you have done that for a policy that had been suspended? Have I not had auto insurance since April 6th? Who placed this note? How was there no obligation to contact me by phone or in writing about this change? Her response, over and over, was, “I understand. I don’t know.” She offered to call underwriting but I thanked her for her time and told her I would just get another agent. I called another agent with the same national agency and they helped me formally switch agents. He is still trying to figure out what happened and how much I will owe on my previous and new policy. Hopefully, this is resolved this upcoming week.

Dating – Dating has been wild. My current dating experiences probably warrant a separate post but I will share here that I believe that Gentleman Avery and I are at our final impasse…for me. We can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. At different moments, I find that I feel like the worst sort of female cliche. Another post…

Home – I am growing increasingly itchy to find a place of my own. I think this feeling has been exacerbated by time spent with my best friend in her own house and the cooling housing market (it was ridiculous in my city but we are finally starting to see houses sit on the market for a bit longer and price reductions). I am very reluctant, and have yet, to turn my attention away from aggressive debt repayment toward saving for a down payment.

While some of this feeling is definitely that I live in a 10X11 room and want more space, I think some of it is debt repayment boredom. When I was hustling back in the day (so…last fall), each gig I worked served as a reminder of what I was working towards and it helped to keep me focused. Now, I am still hustling but it feels different and I only see progress once a month. Before I turn my attention away from aggressive debt repayment, I am going to try and find inspiration to stay on track…

$$$ In – The specialized extracurricular activity that I have previously mentioned is resuming this summer. I have been offered an evening educator position with a camp and will take this on for two weeks in June. I have set the camp start date as the deadline by which I need to have completed all of my reporting work for University B. I will still technically be employed by them until the end of June, and will likely work for them a bit, but juggling my full-time job, active work at University B, and this part-time camp role is not something I am prepared to do at the moment. The camp role definitely pays more than I make at University B for two weeks so if I don’t work for them at all during that period I would still be further ahead financially.

The true “costs” of cheap rent… (PART II)


It’s important to be honest about the challenges of shared living since it is often one of the first things that people mention when discussing strategies for significant debt repayment.

For the most part, my housemates are pretty great. And as I mentioned in another post, I have become extremely close to one of them and I will be sad when she moves out next month. For clarity’s sake, I will refer to her as Mahira moving forward. Mahira is in her early thirties, a psychologist, and a pretty chill housemate. She’s tidy, respectful of space, and very considerate of others. My other housemate, let’s call him Patrick, is a bit different. He is older (late fifties/early sixties), very rigid, and not as considerate. While we don’t have a great deal in common, my interactions with Patrick are generally pretty pleasant and brief.

However, one thing that annoys me to no end is how messy dirty Patrick is. He has every appliance known to man in our small shared kitchen and there is a thin layer of grease and crumbs all over each appliance and the area around them. You would think given his proclivity to be less tidy dirty that he would be a rather chill housemate. He’s not. Unlike Mahira and I who both work remotely and away from the home, Patrick is an Uber driver (who isn’t currently driving) and spends all of his time at the house. That isn’t a problem. You have every right to spend as much time as you want in a place where you pay rent. However, what is a problem is how “sensitive” he is to food smells. He is constantly complaining when Mahira or I cook anything that might be “aromatic.” We have an exhaust in our kitchen that goes straight out the window and whenever I cook, I make an effort to use it. However, today, Patrick stops me on my way downstairs and out the door to question if I am actually using the exhaust and to complain that food smells are still getting into his room. At first, I said, “Yes, sorry.” Then I said, “Actually, I’m not sorry for cooking in a place where I pay rent.” He continued to talk about how upset he was about the smells getting into his room and complained that he might need to buy a window fan for his room. My response was, “Whatever works for you.”

He seemed upset by this. As I finally made my way out the door, I thought, “Should I apologize?” A half-hour later and I’ve decided it’s not gonna happen. First, if Patrick is so incredibly sensitive to food smells, shared living might not be for him (NOTE: he also cooks “aromatic” things and the scents still make their way to my room…I just don’t complain about it because I accept that it is a part of shared living). Second, I think I would feel more obligated to go out of my way to ensure food smells don’t make it up to his room IF he were a similarly considerate person. However, despite multiple requests that he clean the kitchen counter/stove after using it, or remove food debris from the sink after making food, or not put his moldy-year-old kitchen sponge (seriously, it’s the same sponge since I moved in and he puts it sopping wet on the sink divider…there is a thin film on it and it looks shiny…ick) in the sink, then I might feel obligated to “do more.” Also, despite having a rigid schedule of when he feels he should have exclusive access to the kitchen, he constantly enters the kitchen at times that have been allocated to others just to “do my dishes real quick.” I realize I am entirely chaffed by his whining given he is not a considerate person.

Rant over. Again, I realize that there are far worse housemate situations out there and that I could be dealing with theft or violence but it’s still annoying/uncomfortable and it’s still not something you have to deal with if you live alone.

All of this led to me fantasizing about living on my own and doing a cursory search on University B’s off-campus housing website and Zillow. The prices were significantly more than I currently pay, or am willing to pay, and for a moment I was genuinely depressed. Then I decided that I just needed a number/goal. I needed a number/goal at which I could justify/be comfortable living on my own. I’ve decided that my number/goal is less than $50,000.00 in student loan debt remaining…and I want to get there this year.

She’s Out of My Life

I’m only being slightly less dramatic than Michael in this video

The week began terribly, stressful, and I whined about it a bit here. But by Thursday evening, I was sipping on a very strong margarita at a local Mexican restaurant, and I was convinced that things had finally turned around for me. It was not to be. Today, while tidying up the kitchen, my wonderful, awesome, lovely, housemate told me that she had just signed a lease for a one-bedroom apartment and will be moving out at the end of April. To say I was bummed is an understatement.

Good friends are difficult to find. Good housemates are even more difficult to find, especially as you get older and people become more set in their ways. Not only was my housemate (we’ll call her the Good Witch) kind and considerate but she was also an excellent communicator. She wasn’t passive-aggressive and had no problem engaging in uncomfortable conversations if they helped to ensure that housemate needs and boundaries were respected. I am bummed.

Although it should not, her departure is causing me to reflect a bit more on my own immediate housing plans. The Good Witch is moving to a one-bedroom apartment in a chic area of town at slightly below-market rent. At $1,300.00, it is still significantly more than I pay or would feel comfortable paying for rent. That being said, I am a bit envious of her. I know that she earns what I used to earn at University B and has about $50,000.00 in student loan debt. While she has every intention of paying it off, she said the pandemic has warned her against “delaying ‘living'”…

I’m bummed.

My Baby Love

My clumsy nod to a legendary girl group aside, for some time I have been struggling with my desire for a family. Setting aside any discussion about the mid-thirties, hormone-induced nature of this desire, or gender socialization, I would instead turn to recent events…

As I have stated in several posts, March is an exciting month because it means the end of weekend obligations for University B. However, this past weekend, while supporting a University B program, I ran into a colleague I had not seen for some time. After we had chatted for some time, she opened her coat to reveal a significant baby bump. While this is exciting news in general, it was made that much more exciting because this colleague is now seven months pregnant, after suffering several miscarriages, at 43. While I was beyond thrilled for her and her husband, I realized later that I was also happy…for myself.

I had just turned thirty-four at the onset of the pandemic and while that wouldn’t qualify me as a spry, young thing, I also didn’t feel old*. I didn’t feel like the things I wanted for myself, a different career, a romantic partnership, or a family were things that wouldn’t happen. Just things that hadn’t happened yet. A little more than two years later and things feel different. The pool of eligible partners seems to be shrinking at an exponential rate, as is my window for conceiving a child. I realized that my “baby love” had reached a new stage when I seriously considered whether or not I would be willing to have a child on my own. After significant consideration, I acknowledged that this did not appeal to me, however, the mere fact that I turned it over in my mind suggested that I was in a different place than I was two years ago.

My student loan debt. Much as it has touched every other aspect of my life, it has also affected my thoughts about having a family. First, I considered whether or not I would be desirable as a mate/partner/mother. My second consideration was whether or not I had the resources to support a child. My parents waited eight years after getting married to have me because they had grown up poor and wanted better for me. Who was I to disrupt this “generational progress” and have a child before I could financially afford it? And finally, should I consider freezing my eggs? Or would this just be another financially irresponsible choice made under the guise of preserving freedom?

I don’t know. Any of it.

*I understand and appreciate that “old” is a relative value, and I am very grateful for every year I get to spend on this planet. So many people have not had the fortune to live long as I have.

P.S. If you were disappointed by the only tangentially, financial nature of this post, blame Eva. 🙂

The true “costs” of cheap rent…

As I sit here writing this post, I do so without the benefit of a hot shower at the end of the day. And “Why is that?”, you might ask. Because the hot water heater in the house share I am renting is no longer working. Ugh.

Housing, rent, or the ability to put a roof over one’s head is generally the most significant, regular, financial obligation one has each month. Generally, if you are in debt, the first question anyone asks is, “How much is your mortgage?” or “How much is your rent?” This is why, if you are someone who has significant debt, one of the first things you may try to do is reduce your mortgage/rent. However, this, like all things, has costs. Costs that must be carefully, and continually, balanced against other interests. In my previous apartment, the cost of cheap rent was occasional pests and a neglectful landlord who believed that the cost of cheap rent was living with these significant discomforts. My current place is much nicer but my absent landlord means the cost of cheap rent is significantly more responsibility than what would normally be expected of tenants. So tomorrow, instead of spending my first weekend off from work, in more than three weeks, on my back, lazing and not doing much, I will instead be trying to find a plumber to address the fact that the house does not have hot water. A the moment, this cost seems significant.

The reality is, I don’t know that I have a choice. Clearer: I don’t have a choice. Maintaining cheap rent is very much key to me getting rid of my student loan debt before I am 40. At one time, I think I thought I wouldn’t have a choice until I was entirely out of debt. However, as I prepare for life after debt, I think this calculation, what I’m willing to “pay/sacrifice” for cheap rent, is something I am going to have to decide sooner than I would like…

Update: The hot water heater began working again. The power to the house occasionally goes out and this seems to be something that is triggered by the HVAC system. I can hear it struggling to turn on and then the power will go out for a moment. When the power comes back on, the HVAC system starts right back up. I think this power outage resulted in our “smart” water heater getting a reset. In the future, if this, unfortunately, happens again, turning the electric breaker off and then back on may be a solution. It feels like I have dedicated far too much time to figuring this out but…cheap rent.

Lunar Do-Over Day 4: February 4th

1. How much did I spend today? – $41.41 – The free ride is officially over now that I am back home. I am making an effort to eat out of my freezer and pantry, so most of the money I spent today was on fresh foods. I also bought a chopper to help make meal prep a bit faster and dry shampoo and conditioner that were on clearance to make a few of my hairstyles last longer.

GroceriesTaiwanese cabbage ($1.29/lb, 7.79lbs) $        (10.35)
HomeChopper $          (9.12)
GroceriesBroccoli crowns, strawberries (2), mandarins (5lbs), turnip greens, and dry shampoo and conditioner $        (21.94)

February Variable (food, gas, misc.) Budget Initial Balance: $463.77
February Variable (food, gas, misc.) Budget Remaining Balance: $379.20

2. What financial information have I learned to help me when I’m debt-free? – See the true costs of cheap rent above.

3. How have I lived abundantly? – I am slowly learning to stop treating my pleasure as “frivolous.” I love fresh flowers (and plants) but while I have been in debt, when I have wanted to buy fresh flowers, I have refrained because I couldn’t justify it. Flowers are not functional and the fact that they literally die within a week of purchase would seem to make them an incredibly self-indulgent purchase. But they make me happy. So happy.

Every time I walk past this Dollar Tree vase and a bouquet of flowers, it makes me so happy. On my way to my bathroom or looking up from work. Happy. Now, before you think I have jumped off the deep end…

Yes…I find my pleasure in the reduced bin. But I find it.

Living on Last Month’s Income

The concept of living on last month’s income was recently made popular by the folks at You Need A Budget (YNAB), and I learned of it from Stephanie over at Six Figures Under. While Stephanie convinced me of the benefits of living on last month’s income as she chronicled her and Mike’s journey out of six figures of student loan debt (most of which is breaking the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck), I was never willing to forgo making an additional debt payment to save for the following month. And for the most part, that was okay. Because University B pays on the last day of the month for that month (e.g. pay for January is disbursed on January 31st), I would use that income for the following month. Technically, I was living on last month’s income…but not really. I was still living on income from my most recent paycheck.

Organization C, unlike University B, does not pay monthly and instead pays on a biweekly paycheck cycle. Having worked at University B for almost three years, I have come to enjoy budgeting and paying all of my bills at the beginning of the month. Initially, I thought that biweekly paychecks with Organization C meant that I would no longer be able to pay my bills monthly. However, I realized that if I actually committed to living on last month’s income, my employer’s paycheck cycle would no longer matter. Beginning in March, I will actually begin living on last month’s income. This transition was made a bit easier because of the slight overlap in full-time paychecks from University B and Organization C. I was paid by University B on 1/31 and used that money to pay February’s bills. I will get paid by Organization C on 2/15 and 2/28 and use that income to budget and pay bills on March 1st.

I am excited about this transition, the continued simplicity, and the additional security it will lend my financial life.

Lunar Do-Over Day 3: February 3rd

1. How much did I spend today? – $0.00 – Today was my last day of travel for Organization C and I was able to expense my meal and travel. I just got home and my fridge is empty so I will have to do some shopping and meal planning.

February Variable (food, gas, misc.) Budget Initial Balance: $463.77
February Variable (food, gas, misc.) Budget Remaining Balance: $420.61

2. What financial information have I learned to help me when I’m debt-free? – See living on last month’s income above. I think this will significantly improve how I plan and budget forever.

3. How have I lived abundantly? – I’m sitting on my bed, 5 minutes to midnight, eating black cherry sorbet, and chatting with someone I really shouldn’t be. I may regret both of these things in the morning but at the moment…it feels good.

January 2022 – Life Update

First, I want to thank you all for the comments and votes on my 2022 Financial Goals post. The comments and feedback were beyond helpful in helping me to clarify why I was feeling the way I was and what I should do. But because life just isn’t that simple…

1) “The (Organization C) offers a 20% employer 403b match.” – Yea…no. What I have quoted to the left is the actual text of Organization C’s employee handbook. However, when I met with Organization C’s admin/HR admin, for my on-boarding earlier this month, I was told, “It’s a 20% match of the employee contribution, capped at $2,000.00.” WTF? No seriously, WTF? I mean, I’ll admit, 20% sounded too good to be true and so I probably should have assumed it was too good to be true but, really? How is the text of the employee handbook, which is what you are given with your offer letter for review, so incredibly misleading? Y’all, for fives seconds, I was questioning everything. Then I remembered that without additional duty pay for which I had to work, you know, additionally, I was making less than $50,000.00 at University B. The $26,000.00+ salary increase means that even had I known Organization C’s actual match, I would still have accepted the role.

I am now calm and in “planning mode” but I cannot begin to explain how disappointed I was when I was first made aware of the discrepancy. And to add insult to injury, the HR admin asked me “Were you expecting something different?” because apparently everyone who works for my employer has made the same assumption I have (including the HR admin!) based on the current text of the employee handbook. Before we hire anyone else, I will make sure the text of that handbook is changed.

2) University B is planning to keep me on part-time (20 hours). – I KNOW! I say “planning” because it has been supported by my boss, my boss’s boss, and my boss’s, boss’s boss but ultimately has to go through human resources. Human resources at University B is incredibly understaffed and things slip through the cracks…a lot. Staying on part-time was my idea because A) I didn’t want to leave my colleagues in a lurch (I have a somewhat specialized role) and B) if they kept me on part-time for a while there would be zero need for gig work, and C) I didn’t expect my 403b employer contributions to vest until the end of June and this would get me to my 3-year service date. I was honestly shocked when my boss was open to the idea and, honestly, I kept expecting someone to object to it at some point. I think I am fortunate in that University B has been losing a ton of staff to the private sector and keeping me on part-time would reduce the stress placed on my other colleagues, which is a priority for University B at the moment. I have been told that my department has approved keeping me on part-time through the end of the summer.

I have gone back and forth about how I really feel about this. Part of me just wanted to cut ties with University B and move on to my role with Organization C unencumbered. But there is no way I could turn down this opportunity. So it will be a lot but if I can do this, I will be in a much better position to reach any of my 2022 Financial Goals…you know, once I can decide what they are now that my plans have been blown-up.

3) My 403b contributions from University B vested. – I know! I was shocked ya’ll. The University B employee handbook states that the “…employer contribution vests after three (3) years of continued service. Any matching employer contributions made by University B are vested with completion of 1,000 hours worked, in a 12-consecutive-month period, at University B.” My 3-year service date isn’t until the end of June so I was super anxious about losing out on the employer contributions to my 403b if my move to part-time hours was not approved by human resources. However, I went into my Fidelity account today and noticed that my vested portion now included the employer contributions. I suspect this happened because University B allows hourly, part-time employees to contribute to 403b and receive an employer match, so I think “years of service” is based on hours worked and not calendar years.

In any instance, all I am feeling is relief. Now, even if HR bungles my paperwork and terminates me in the system and rehires me, I still get to keep University B’s employer contributions.

Okay, there is more life stuff but…ugh, this post has already gotten so long. Obviously, the above significantly impact my 2022 Financial Goals. I am hoping to mull over my goals for a bit longer and make a decision by February 1st. Again, THANK YOU to everyone who commented and voted…you helped give me much needed perspective.

Applying to Medical School (5) : The True Cost of Attending and the “Sunk Cost” Fallacy

This post has been sitting in my “drafts” for quite some time and, honestly, I still probably wouldn’t have gotten around to writing it were it not for my upcoming review of my 2021 Financial Goals…

As I have shared with some of you who have written to me privately by email, at this time, I have decided not to pursue medical school. I have gone back and forth about this decision for YEARS, however, coming to terms with a few things has gotten me to a place of mostly contentment with this decision. A few things…

The few things mostly have to do with my motivations and desires. While these are enmeshed and overlapping, I will do my best to pull these apart here:

1) Sunk Cost – I think part of my motivation to continue down this path had to do with the sheer amount of time and money I had invested in this endeavor. Beyond just the upfront course costs, there was also the missed year of professional earnings, retirement savings, and accumulating student loan interests that resulted from me returning to school full time to take premed courses. When you make that sort of investment of your time and money it is difficult to walk away. Unlike if I had pursed a graduate degree or had been working, walking away was made more difficult because I felt like I had nothing to show for that time. I still feel this way. However, I have also come to realize that this “sunk cost” cannot be a primary motivator.

2) True Cost of Attending – One of the great things about being an older premed is that physicians don’t feel obligated to give you the “rah, rah, you can do it” pep talks. Instead, many of them were brutally honest about the “true cost” of a career in medicine, and how much more complicated that choice becomes for someone in their 30s. PRIOR to the pandemic, I talked to happy physicians who were supportive and encouraging, but I also talked to miserable physicians who talked to me about the constant sacrifice of time, happiness, and money that the study of medicine requires. While I think it is possible that I could have been one of those happy physicians, especially if I found a way to make medical school cheap, I realized that I was not willing to make the other sacrifices…at least not at this point in my life. For a long time, I think when I would have these thoughts I would just attribute it to me being a lazy person. I’m not a lazy person. Instead, I’m making a different choice about how to spend my energy, talents, time, and money.

3) Service to Community
– I turned to the pursuit of a career in medicine just before I graduated from graduate school. My own recent interactions with health professionals and my research on the reproductive care of black women made me passionate about ameliorating healthcare inequities. My academic work in graduate school had also left me feeling like “my feet didn’t touch the ground.” What did it matter if I could have erudite conversations with my fellow graduate students…how did that improve the lived experiences of anyone? While I don’t think the answer to that question is important to everyone, it is important to me. And it will continue to play a large role in shaping my professional work. However, medicine is not the only way to be of service to my community.

4) Stimulation
– And finally, prior to going to graduate school I was working a corporate job. While the pay wasn’t bad (seriously, I made more money at 26 without a master’s degree than I did at University B), I was constantly bored and unchallenged. I loved graduate school and was convinced that medicine would provide me with a way to continue being stimulated, while also being of service to others, and eeking out a decent living. As I concluded above, I realized that there are also other ways to do this that don’t require investing 7+ years of my life in additional education and training at the cost of many other things.

Okay. That’s most of it. Almost all of it. People in my life have had different thoughts about my journey with medicine and their influence on me was more or less significant at different points. When I made this decision, I didn’t talk to anyone about it. Didn’t ask anyone for their opinion. Didn’t solicit advice. At the end of the day, this is my choice and I’m the one who has to be comfortable with it. And, for the most part, I am. There is a chance that some of this contentment has to do with me finding an alternate path to achieving much of the above (I told y’all before that I’m a planner) but that is for another post.

I got a new job!

If you read my Misc. Income Report (Earned through 12/17/21): $243.01 post, then you might have known this was coming. If not, now you know!

For the past few months, it has been quite obvious that I have been frustrated with my boss and compensation at University B. In fact, I seriously thought about quitting and only backed away from that decision after I realized I would lose all of my employer matches to my 403b contributions as I had yet to meet the three-year vesting date. I was frustrated, a bit depressed, and felt stuck but I was planning to ride it out until July of 2022. How quickly things can change…

The week before Thanksgiving, a colleague and friend reached out to tell me that they had been made aware of a role with a non-profit for which they thought I would be a good fit. I reviewed the role and not only was my educational experience exactly what they were seeking but my work experience also matched up neatly with what the organization stated were its’ future objectives. Unlike most instances in which I would piddle around and ultimately not end up applying, this time, I invested significant time in writing a very tailored cover letter, updating my resume, and getting feedback about both from others. And it paid off.

The head of the organization reached out to me the week after Thanksgiving to set up an initial interview. I was then offered a second interview with a larger swathe of the staff for the following week. And this week, I was invited to a follow-up meeting with the head of the organization that was ultimately so they could feel out my continued interest and make me a verbal offer. I received a written offer less than an hour later.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I cannot begin to explain how excited I am. As I have hinted at in all my posts this month, this is a career-defining opportunity as it means a significant increase in income (+$26,000.00) and positions me well, in terms of job title and responsibilities, for my next role.

I know that this is a personal finance blog and I owe you all the gory details as to what this means for my student loan debt repayment plans, and that post is coming, but for now, I just want to be ecstatic.

As always, THANK YOU all for your company and support along this journey.