[-$44,016] Standing Still and Feeling Dragged Along

Image credit: ‘Feeling Blue’ by lukechueh (DeviantArt)

FEELING BLUE

I’ve been feeling blue and unmotivated to write lately. I think a big part of it is because I’m at a standstill with making any progress on debt repayment. I sent $70 toward my student loan a few days ago while the other $900+ went to pay off that blasted medical bill. In the meantime interest continues to accrue…

I also have a recently announced family event that I must attend. I do want to go and be supportive, but my bank account was not prepared for this. Not going is not an option as the guilt tripping from family would be enormous. The travel will cost $500. I’ve got that chillin’ on my credit card at the moment.

There will also be another mandatory family event later this year. That will probably be another $500 at the very least.

I’ve also been overspending my allowance budget and have been pulling from my Opportunity Fund. I’ll need to lower my next couple of student loan payments to get everything settled. With everything going on, I just see my debt payoff date getting pushed back further and further…   Read More

11 Things I Hate about the Job Search

Hi All,

It has been two months since I lost my job and I am still unemployed. Thankfully, I am receiving unemployment benefits to make ends meet and I am still working my online job. I have applied to many jobs and am doing interviews here and there.

I have only ever been on the job market while unemployed (after grad school and now) so my view of being a job candidate may be jaundiced, however I have compiled a list of things that irk me the most about what I’m going through right now. I still have hope that things will pick up and that i will find a good great job, although I remain generally depressed and have fallen into a deep abyss of despair a couple of times.

Because I’ve been through unemployment before, I know the damage that this does to my mental and physical health. One thing that I have now, that I didn’t have then is this blog. So writing here helps me to laugh when I feel like crying. I also read of the blogs of others to know that I am in good company.

Here are 11 things I hate about being unemployed and on the job market.

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1. Employers using interviews to get free consulting

I’ve encountered this more than once already. I think it’s become more common since the recession. Applicants are being taken advantage of. After one particularly detailed interview exercise on a problem that the company was currently facing, I was close to asking the group of interviewers where I should send my consulting invoice. Ugh.

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2. Employers that never let you know the outcome after one or more interviews.

After investing hours or days into preparing for interviews, and then spending hours going through these events of torture, the recruiters don’t call you back to let you know what happened.  You are left twisting in the wind. If, after a reasonable amount of time, you call them for an update they don’t answer your call, and never call you back. They in effect are saying to you, “You figure out when the answer is no.”  THAT IS SOOO DISRESPECTFUL!!!

interviewing hoops

3. You have to go through 3,  4, or even 5 rounds of interviews, each more difficult than the last!

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4. The hiring phase takes the employer 3 months, but firing phase 90 days after a bad hire takes 3 minutes.

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5. Unemployment discrimination

The situation is even more difficult if you are unemployed. You are damaged goods. Hiring managers and recruiters ignore you and render you invisible. Recruiters that called you when you were employed, won’t give you the time of day now.

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6. Discrimination of any Kind

Age is one. I am, at 38, and three years out of grad school, already too old to work at many tech start-ups. Sigh.

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7. Local candidates only

I’ve run into this quite a bit in my search. Even if you explain that you will relocate at your own expense, employers will not talk to you – that is,  if they even see your resume. See #9.

Hand, pen and blank document

8. Salary Low-balling 

Although I have not had the benefit of being offered a salary yet in my job hunt, I had this happen to me when I was unemployed after graduating from grad school. I know that the unemployed are particularly vulnerable to this. Do you think that a potential employee who feels ripped off is going to be motivated to give an employer everything they have to offer? (For the record, I ended up having to take that job, but was out of there as soon as something better came along.)

Weekly Jobless Numbers Unexpectedly Rise

9. Applicant Tracking Systems

Especially ATSs that eat your resume or screen you out because of #5 and #7. The black hole of doom awaits your carefully crafted and tailored resume, where no human eyes will ever see it. Waste of time.

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10. Being judged and rejected for insanely trivial reasons.

When you are an applicant you’re future livelihood is decided at the whim of the hiring manager.  Maybe you were qualified but they didn’t like your laugh, your accent, your lipstick or mustache, or maybe you reminded them of someone else who was mean to them in childhood. Ok, I’m exaggerating here, but you know what I mean.

grrrr

11.  Losing Out to the Dreaded Internal Candidate

You have your time wasted for three weeks interviewing with a company only to find out that they had an internal candidate that they’d already promised the job to. So this employer just wasted your time and never got back to you. (See #2). But their time wasn’t wasted because at least they got some free consulting from you. (See #1)!

Arrgh!

Hang on and hold on. That’s all I can do.

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

Is Extreme Frugality for You?

frug coneslayer

When I talk about extreme frugality, I’m not talking about ‘Extreme Cheapskates’ who take risks with their health and safety.

I define Extreme Saving or Extreme Frugality as living on 20 to 40% of one’s take home income. I am practicing extreme frugality, living on 25% of my net income, not as a lifestyle, but out of necessity.  When I am out of debt, I will always retain a frugal mindset, although I will not practice it so extremely.

Are you the extreme type?  Here’s how to tell if you are ready for extreme frugality to get out of debt. You are are ready if the following principles resonate with you.

1. You Can’t Outearn Stupidity

Dave Ramsey is fond of warning anyone who will listen that when you are in debt, you have to change your lifestyle. You can’t simply get two or three jobs without making adjustments in how you think about money and how you manage it. In other words, you can’t outearn stupidity.

2. You Are Not Your Crap

You must be willing to give up materialistic things and stand on your own with out them. This doesn’t have to be forever or for all things, however you need to know who you are without them. You need to learn what you mean to people without them. You have to break the  consumerist, materialistic mentality that got you into debt in the first place. You need to really know that you can live without any of it. You are not the labels on your clothes or the hood ornament on your car. You need to give it all up for a period of time. You are not your crap.

I always thought that I was not materialistic, but now I can see that I was, at least somewhat. Digging out of debt is teaching me to be very conscious and very selective about the things that I want to buy when I’m out of debt and what they will mean to me. I’ve also learned that I’m more interested in experiences than stuff.

3. You Need to Live the Lesson

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You are the type of person who needs to experience something in order to truly understand it. You need to feel the pain of the consequences of your past bad decisions. Most of us have learned the lesson of our financial mistakes mathematically, but there is more to learning a lesson than just math for some of us. For some of us, we need to LIVE the lesson. Some of us need to metaphorically feel the pain of the hot stove on our hand, to learn at a deep visceral and permanent level not to ever make the same mistake.  We need to live through the consequences of being financially illiterate, gullible, and uneducated about personal finance.

Everyday when I wake up and go out into the world, I am keenly aware of the gulf between where I am and how I present myself, and where I feel I should be and how I’d like to present myself.  It’s depressing.  When I’m down, I remind myself of why I’m living this way and what got me here. When I’m taking crap at work I remind myself that my poor decisions with money, and resulting debts, have trapped me in this situation. I am living my lesson, thoroughly. And once I am out of debt, this is a lesson that will NEVER be repeated. EVER.

4. You Need to Get On with Life

By being an extreme saver, you get out of debt faster. You are ready to rip the bandage off quickly, to live with more discomfort, but for a shorter period of time.

I don’t want to pay this debt for 30 years and into my old age. Even the 10 year repayment plan for my student loans is too long. I’d like to save money and live abroad for a year. I don’t want to be in my 50’s before I can afford to do that. Debt carries too much risk for me. At any point in a 10 year or 20 year repayment plan, I could become injured or ill or unemployed and we know what happens to people who default on student loans. Life becomes a living hell. My goal is to be out of $140,000 debt in 3 to  5 years, depending on how much money I can make and save. I’ll be in my early 40’s by that point and still young enough to let my hair down and have a good time while I save for retirement.

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These are just a few reasons that attracted me to temporary extreme frugality. It is not for everyone, nor should it be. Is extreme frugality right for you?

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

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Photo credits:

Frugality – ConeSlayer @ Flickr

Well Traveled – Andy Barrow @ Flickr

Burner – Muffet @ Flickr