A Story About Paying Off Debt and the Obstacles Along the Way

, , ,

New Job = Ch-ch-ch-CHANGES

It's no secret that I'm over-the-moon excited about my new job. If you follow us on Twitter (you don't follow us on Twitter?! Join us at @The76KProject!), you know that I was live-Tweeting my last week of work and that I was going slightly bonkers because time seemed to be approaching my final day in an excruciatingly slow, asymptotic way. I was convinced that Friday at 5 was never going to arrive.

(Spoiler alert: it eventually did.)

Now my desk drawers have been cleaned out, my access card has been deactivated, my power strip is off, and I've said goodbye to the most wonderful coworkers on the planet. This former employee has left the building for good. Time for my next adventure: a full time work-from-home job.

With the new gig comes a series of big changes for me and for the whole 76K Project family, cat included:

(1) Goodbye cubicle, hello "home office": Whereas my previous work took place in a building that bore a terrifying resemblance to the office in Office Space, the new job is an entirely work-from-home position. Goodbye, cubicle, and good riddance. Instead, I'll set up shop on my "desk" (aka card table) in our "home office" (aka our second bedroom) with my new "coworker" (my cat, who I'm guessing will sleep most of the day except for conference calls, when she'll likely jump on my computer and stick her butt in front of the camera). 

Am I concerned about being in my house all. the. time.? Well... yes. That does worry me a bit. However, one of the best things about my previous job was that it offered me an opportunity to meet people in my community. I've made friends and joined organizations. So even though I'll be spending a loooooot of time in my house, there's no excuse for me to become a hermit.

(2) A bigger paycheck: Honestly, this was one of the most appealing things about the new job. Not because it means we can buy more stuff, but because it means we'll have more money to allocate to our debt payments. Come February, we'll ramp up our monthly debt payments from $2200 to $3000. Look for an upcoming post on how this will affect our debt payoff timeline (if you're interested in our current timeline and how we came up with it, you can find that here)

The higher income will also be helpful in that we're starting to think about purchasing a home. The location of our current place is as perfect as it gets, but we're tired of sharing walls with noisy neighbors, and we need a little more breathing room. Given that there's not a big difference in mortgages and rent prices here, purchasing seems like a reasonable step - if we can get a good deal. We'll see. But the bigger paycheck will definitely help in this respect.

(3) Less comprehensive benefits. My previous job came with outstanding, affordable health insurance coverage and an 11% retirement match. My new job comes with a decent but more expensive health insurance plan and a match up to 6%. Given that my family's in decent health (knock on wood), I'm okay with the insurance changes. As for retirement, you can bet that I'll take advantage of any free money that's on offer. 

(4) No more side hustle: My new job comes with a one-year non-compete clause, so I'm giving up my side gigs. I'm fine with it. I'm burnt out on side hustling. Working a regular 40 hour job, helping The Kiddo with homework, keeping the house reasonably clean and the family reasonably fed (of course Fortysomething contributes to these tasks, too), AND devoting hours of my nights and weekends to part-time work turned out to be too exhausting to be sustainable over the long term. 

Don't get me wrong. The side hustle was a great experiment, and it certainly helped us kick our debt repayment into overdrive. But it's no longer manageable, so it's time to set it aside - with the understanding that it may be an option again somewhere down the road.

(5) No more walking to work (but I'll still be walking!) Last spring, I decided to leave my car at home and walk the 5 miles round trip between my house and my office. Those walks turned out to be one of the best parts of my day. I looked forward to the time outdoors and the opportunity to transition between home and work, work and home.

There's no place I'd rather be than outside, so even though I'm losing my commute, my goal is to still walk and/or run five miles every day, ideally in the morning. It's good for my health and good for my mind. 

What about you? If you've changed jobs, what was that transition like? What changes did the job shift entail?


  1. Hm the non-compete clause is interesting. But possibly a blessing in disguise as you now don't have a choice about giving up on the thing that would lead to further burnout!

    Less comprehensive benefits obviously isn't ideal (11%?? That's amazing! My previous company offered 10% but I've never heard of 11%) but sounds like it's well worth it for the better job. And congrats on the bigger debt payments! Looking forward to hearing how everything goes :)

    1. Yeah, I'll be interested to see how I feel about that clause in a few months! After a year, I'm allowed to take on additional work. My guess is that if I *needed* to take on a side hustle in the interim, I could probably convince them to let me do so.

      So, I received the details on benefits today and was pleasantly surprised. The premiums and deductibles are a little higher, but not by much. My employer will automatically put the equivalent of 3% of my salary into retirement; I'm also eligible for an additional 3% match. Due to the higher salary, it ends up being comparable to what I received before. They also will match up to $2000 in my HSA, so I'll be maxing that out, too.

      In short, I am grateful!

  2. This sounds like such a great change. Good luck and keep us posted!

    1. Thank you! I am hopeful that this will be a good fit.