[-$16,000] Looking for the Escape Hatch

Sometimes I feel like I’ll be fine at this job with enough time to learn, but other times, I just feel in over my head and exhausted. I am feeling stressed because I’m working on my first two projects and my crew is waiting on me to finish my part before we can all move to the next phase.

So I’m holding up multiple other people and they are getting frustrated. They want me to work faster, but I have to work with other (non-crew) people and timelines outside my control. And I’m working with tools I’ve never used before and creating new processes where none currently exist. The crew doesn’t care.   

My new manager is pleasant enough to me because I’m new, but she’s intimidating. She glibly mentioned that two people (one of whom I’d recently met) who do what I do at the company were leaving due to underperformance. Um, ok. Why tell me that? Jeez. No pressure, right?

Now in my third week, I’ve already gotten my first sit down “we’ve noticed…” conversation disguised as a friendly chat from one of the directors. When I voiced some of my perceived pressures, I was met with, “We have high standards” and “Get better at pushing back”. I was given more things to add to my mile-long To-Do list. I came out of that meeting feeling rattled.  I can tell I’m not enough of a culture fit, and not just for this company. I don’t think I’m a culture fit for my own career anymore.

This job is DEFINITELY not for me long term. It’s very stressful. Working at top speed all day every day in the office is re-igniting my burnout. The pressure. The commute. I’m already going to be working part of this weekend just to partially catch up with the workload. This job is not going to be sustainable for a number of health reasons.

That being said, not for one minute do I regret leaving the old job. I’d do it again without hesitation. I’m seeing the future of my current career now and I’m liking it less and less.

I’m looking at other jobs to see what’s out there. None of the other jobs that I’m seeing appeal to me, because they all look like what I’m doing now.

My career has evolved and moved on without me over the past 7 years. The work I used to do is all but obsolete on the job market. It’s a new career for a new type of worker, and I don’t fit anymore. Trying to get another job in my field, in addition to being tricky because I just started this one, would not solve my (burnout) problem.

For a while, I’ve been in a quandry about whether each weekly paycheck should go to debt or cash savings. I’m now heavily leaning towards giving up on paying off the debt and just stockpiling cash. It will take me several months to pay off the debt and I don’t think I can last that long in this job.

More and more, I’m feeling that my next step should be studying full time for 6 months or so for a new career. I feel positive that this will help my burnout as well.  I’ve already identified a few programs that look promising.  I will need cash to fund doing this as the programs will cost money. I will also need to pay my bills, and find health insurance – probably ACA, because Cobra prices are ridiculous. I will start looking into this.

For now, I’m taking this job one week at a time.


“Debtor’s prison is real, and opportunity cost is a bitch.” (DDSW Archives)




  1. person1984 · June 30, 2019

    Hmm if I were you I’d save while looking for another job then run for the hills. Working under stress day in day out will make you ill!

    You are so close to being clear of debt! 🙂 take pressure off yourself and find a more relaxing job, might not pay as much but it will let you slow down and enjoy life more. That’s my advice for what it’s worth.

    You were over 200,000 in debt when I first started following you I can’t believe how far you’ve come! You’re an inspiration

    Liked by 2 people

    • Double Debt Single Woman · June 30, 2019

      Thanks for reading! Yes, I’m keeping an eye open for anything that looks lower stress. I’m examing as many options as I can.


  2. Maria · June 30, 2019

    Ugh, your work does sound sooo stressful. Bosses casually mentioning other people in your role being fired due to underperformance. You being held up by, to a large extent, outside forces, but your team and bosses are showing little to no understanding of that and are blaming you and tapping their foot at you. Is there really anyone who doesn’t eventually burn out in that kind of environment?!

    You’ve been talking about feeling burned out for a long time. Nothing is more important than your healtth. It sounds like you’re getting a “sign” at every turn that this job and this career is not for you, and that it’s time or you to do something else very soon.

    So, saving cash to fund your career transition sounds like a good move at this point! You can always throw it at the debt later if something changes. Good thing you refinanced your loans so that your monthly minimum is lower. And it’s great you’ve already seen some programs that look promising. 🙂

    Best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cathy · June 30, 2019

      I agree with Maria completely. Your health and peace of mind are your top priorities. So proud of you for: 1) Not getting emotional and thinking this through. 2) The preparation (paying/refinancing existing debt) you took to put yourself in a good position. Hopefully, there’s a related field that can use your skills and talents. Most importantly, keep praying, God will bring you through to your best life.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Terri · June 30, 2019

      I also agree with Maria and Cathy. Your health is the most important thing. Stress is one of the worst things for you. Unbelievable that the people you work with are so unfeeling. Sounds like a bunch of robots with no human feelings whatsoever. I agree with the other person that commented on how far you have come in such a short period of time. It may not seem short but you have paid off SO much debt in such a short time. It is nothing short of jaw dropping. It is proof that you are a strong and competent being and can literally do anything you set your mind to. You’ve refinanced the loans and gotten the interest rate and monthly payments decreased. You are YEARS ahead of schedule in repaying them. BREATHE. Give yourself some time to breathe. So you don’t pay them off this year. Who cares? If you’re miserable while still this young it is not worth it. I’m sure you’ve heard the sayings of “You can’t take it with you when you’re gone.” And “no one on their deathbed said, ‘Gee, I wish I could have worked more.'” I’m very proud of you for coming to the realization that this is no longer the career path for you and that you are taking steps to get the hell out. So many ppl are afraid to do even that. I am sending you a huge virtual hug. I wish I could do more.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Double Debt Single Woman · June 30, 2019

      Thanks, Maria.
      Yeah, I think it’s time to stack cash for as long as I can keep this job and start taking stock of my options.


  3. Terri · June 30, 2019

    Okay. If u quit find out if u are covered on health insurance for the rest of the month. At my last place, because i worked the first day of the month, i had coverage the entire 30 days. That helps finance wise.

    I think you are smart. Stockpile that cash. Btw have u ever talked to a career coach? I know u are super busy but maybe sit down and write down what your ideal job looks like. If money were no option, what would you be doing? What makes you happy? And what doesn’t.

    Just reading this post, i could feel the stress bouncing off of you. I imagined you pounding the keys as you wrote it, furiously.

    Getting those kinds of talks in such a short time amd working with people like you are, i wouls not have lasted even the few weeks.

    Life is too short for you to be this miserable. You have a lot saved already. Get out now for your health.


    • Double Debt Single Woman · June 30, 2019

      Hey Terri!
      I haven’t spoken with a career coach yet, but that sounds like a good idea. I already have one potential new career identified, but maybe there is another one I haven’t considered. Yeah, getting out is the plan. I just need to figure out where I’m going first.


      • Cynthia Lenz · July 3, 2019

        Career coaches cost $$$.


        • Terri · July 3, 2019

          They can, but maybe if she only had one or two convos with them, it might not be too much.


  4. Authoress51 · June 30, 2019

    I’ve been there. Where I would come home from work every day and cry.
    Stress is not worth it.
    Good Luck in your future decision.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. SMS · June 30, 2019

    I found your blog recently and started reading from the beginning. What jumped out at me is how stressed and burned out you’ve been for a long time. You’ve given priority to the debt and made incredible progress but now, with only 16k left, you can slow down a little. I agree with the others: stockpile cash, pay the minimum on the debt and maybe even reduce the retirement contribution temporarily. You‘ll feel better prepared to face the workplace. Good luck.


  6. Bre · June 30, 2019

    I think you’re reading the signs right on their end… “we’ve noticed” and the glib remarks about why others being let go. you also previously indicated that this wasn’t where you wanted to be. Don’t quit, though. Not sure how things work for unemployment your state, but i think it’d be advantageous to be let go, if it got to that point.

    Sorry if i sound negative. In my work, I believe in being direct (in a kind way) to help understand realities and move toward the future that people really want. I understand if you don’t publish this. I think you’re planning in the right direction. Setup your appointment with your career counselor ASAP. Call your company’s EAP for help (they can help in many ways). Think about what you are capable of doing in the short term (perhaps making a plan re: what is the best you can do to amp yourself up to succeed in this role) as well as how to get the career that you really want to be in.

    As someone else said, i’ve followed you for a long time and I am really excited about the progress you’ve made. I look forward to seeing the updates where your number continues to get lower. You’re an inspiration. Clearing your debt is one way to take care of yourself. Getting your work life is another.

    I wish you all the best and look forward to seeing things turn in the right direction for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Isabella · July 1, 2019

    When you make your next career move, is it possible for you to move to a lower cost of living area?


    • Double Debt Single Woman · July 6, 2019

      Pretty much anywhere I could move to would be a lower cost of living area compared to where I am now. The catch is that my current rent is very, very low. So when I move to my next place, my rent will shoot up because I will NOT have roommates anymore. Never again until I’m in an old folks home.

      But yeah, moving is certainly an option on the table. Having my own apartment where I live now would be ridiculously expensive.


  8. Anonymess · July 2, 2019

    Just adding my voice to the chorus — you’ve made truly amazing progress, your debt is low enough now for you to take a necessary break, and you absolutely need to do all you can to get out of a workplace and a career that you feel terrible in.
    I’m so sorry the new place has gone toxic so fast.


    • Double Debt Single Woman · July 6, 2019

      Thanks, Anonymess. I would LOVE a break from work like nothing else in this world right now. I’m still in a state of burnout. But I don’t have the cash to make it happen. Not yet anyway.


  9. Broke designer · July 3, 2019

    Wow, I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of months right now and the position you are right now is sooo relatable. I think you are smart and you’ve also accomplished so much!, you are so close to being debt free but you have to also think of your future. I think is very wise to stock pile cash and try to get out of that situation. Is also a good advice for the ones who, like me, are starting their debt free journey and thinking about changing jobs. I hope you can find a new job that suits you very soon, we’re all here cheering for you. You’ve got this!. Also, thanks for being a huge inspiration to me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Drmaddog · July 3, 2019

    What you could do, and I have done in the past, is pay the minimums on these loans and put your extra into savings. When you have enough put aside to pay off the loan, you can reassess your situation. If you feel secure enough, pay off the loan in one whack. If not you have a stockpile.

    I also recommend continuing to put aside for retirement. One of the hosts on the House of FI podcast had an enormous quantity of student loans. They followed the Dave Ramsey plan which tells you not to put aside for retirement until you are out of debt. Because of their debt level and the amount of time they have focused on that, she and her husband are way behind the eight ball and she really regrets not putting aside something all that time because they would be so much better off now.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Cynthia · July 3, 2019

    I would suggest a middle of the road approach. Instead of throwing everything you have at the debt, save an equal amount to what you are paying. So, you have a cushion- just in case. You’ve come too far to just stop now and only pay the minimum. Your health is important. It will feel great to pay off the rest of that debt! And then you can move on without that monkey on your back. You can move into your new career without financial worries. How amazing would that be?


  12. Afro Penny · July 4, 2019

    I have been following you since 2014 and you progress, and being at rock bottom, has finally encourage me to create my own blog to follow my journey. I have so appreciated the authenticity and genuineness that you shared in your blogging. It has been inspiring. You have come so very far. I have no career advice to offer and know you know your finances better than I do, so all I can say at this moment is thank you for sharing. It has meant so very much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Double Debt Single Woman · July 6, 2019

      Thanks for the kind words. Blogging can be therapeutic. I wish you luck on tackling your own debt. And you are certainly welcome. 🙂
      Oh, and I’ll be checking out your blog!


  13. Michelle · July 6, 2019

    I’m so sorry that you are going through this and I hope you can hang on long enough to give you time to make whatever decision is best for you. I have been following along on my phone (but unable to comment) and I really feel for you. I like the comment above that suggested making the minimums and saving the rest. Then at some point in the future you can determine whether to throw it at the loan or keep it in savings. It gives you flexibility and freedom.


  14. C@thesingledollar · July 12, 2019

    Ugh, I’m sorry you’re feeling this way. But not super surprised, given all you’ve said. I think you should just try to take it a day at a time. One way or another, you are looking at months of doing this job, not years. As long as you’re there, just try to take deep breaths, do the best you can, but also leave work at the office — no emails at home. Use your home time to focus on your future plans instead.

    On the financial front, I like the idea other people have floated of paying the minimums but putting the rest in savings. If you end up staying at this job long enough, you can always make a big payoff when you’ve saved up the $16K. No matter what, you’ve gotten the debt down to a super, super manageable number through all your hard work the last few years. You can afford to breathe.


    • Double Debt Single Woman · July 13, 2019

      Hey, C! Yeah, I’m already moving in that direction of both takings things one day/week at a time and focusing on savings for the time being.


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